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House Republicans tie debt talk to budget


WASHINGTON - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives backed away on Friday from a fiscal clash with President Barack Obama next month that could have risked a government default and chaos in financial markets, shifting to a new, less aggressive stance.

Top Republican leaders, meeting in Williamsburg, Va., said they were prepared to allow the U.S. government to borrow enough money to keep it fully operating for the next three months without demanding immediate spending cuts from Obama.

Instead, the Republicans, who control the House, will require as part of the legislation raising the debt ceiling that the Democratic-led Senate pass a budget plan by April 15.

If the Senate fails to act, they said, members of Congress would not get paid. How that might work in practice, in light of existing budget law and constitutional restrictions on changing congressional salaries in the middle of a term, was unclear. House Republicans hope to pass the legislation next week.

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