GOP lawmakers plan to move $1.6 trillion bill to avert debt limit crisis

Senate Republicans are planning to move legislation to avoid the debt limit cliff, a source close to the legislation told The Hill.

The move could be seen as a test of the White House’s negotiating skills as it seeks to convince Republican leaders that their plan to keep the government running through Dec. 8 is working.

The GOP has proposed $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next three years in a bid to balance the federal budget without raising taxes, but Senate Democrats say the GOP plan would be catastrophic for the economy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday announced the move in a press conference that was delayed by a day.

“We will pass a bill this afternoon that will fund our government and protect the economy for three years,” McConnell said.

He said he expects the bill to pass the Senate by Thursday morning.

Senate Republicans were still scrambling Thursday to negotiate a compromise bill, as they try to pass legislation to keep federal government operations open through the Christmas holiday.

The Senate voted last week to move ahead on a bipartisan $1,000-a-day raise for the Medicare program.

But that plan fell short of the $1 Trillion goal Republicans agreed to last week, and McConnell said Thursday he would wait to vote on a plan that could avoid the $800 billion in mandatory spending cuts and the debt ceiling.

The White House has pushed to keep Washington running through the end of the year and on Dec. 15.

Republicans in the House and Senate have also been struggling to agree on a bill.

The House approved the $716 billion measure on Thursday, but the Senate approved a version that would cut spending by $3.1 trillion and add $1 to the national debt.

Senate Democrats are pushing for a $1-trillion increase, while GOP leaders are pushing to raise the debt-ceiling limit to avoid an automatic government shutdown.

The debt-limit increase is one of several issues that Republicans have been struggling with as they seek to pass a new budget deal.

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