Vowing a commitment to future spending reductions, Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, was among those in the House voting Wednesday in favor of a bipartisan measure allowing the government to borrow money and push back the debt-ceiling crisis.
Perry was among Republicans previously demanding spending cuts to accompany an increase in the borrowing cap, or debt ceiling. Though the bill included no spending reductions, the legislator said the vote was needed to break a cycle of unsuccessful attempts to cut spending.
"That's partially because the Senate was not in the conversation," Perry said Wednesday evening. "To really make those reductions, we need to have the Senate finally come to the table."
The House has repeatedly sent spending reductions to the Senate, but the Senate has stripped the reductions and sent back the bills, he said.
Wednesday's bill contained a "no budget, no pay" provision withholding pay for either House or Senate members if the chamber in which they serve fails to pass a budget plan.
Work equals pay: Perry said the provision forces a first step in identifying what the spending is and where it should be cut; after almost four years of passing no budget, the Senate either develops a budget or doesn't get paid.
"They have three months to come to the table," Perry said. "Most people need to live by that, if you don't do work, your employer starts to wonder why you're on the payroll ... like a cashier who sits in the break room all day and doesn't go to the register."
Perry said he couldn't say exactly what spending he'd like to cut; the first step is creating a budget. What won't get his vote, he said, is more of the same.
"I'm ready to be part of the solution, but let's see everybody else's ideas as well, and their solutions," he said. "The House had been providing solutions, and the Senate's not involved and the president says 'no' to the House and we're at the debt ceiling crisis again ... I need to see there's some light at the end of the tunnel even if it's 20 years from now."
Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday he disagreed with the House vote, saying it's "counterproductive to what we're trying to do" in providing a resolution instead of a lengthy debate.
"We had a lengthy debate in 2011, and it was harmful to the economy," he said.
Re-sequence fights: The idea driving the move by GOP leaders like Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is to re-sequence upcoming budget battles, taking the threat of a potentially devastating government default off the table and instead setting up a clash in March over automatic across-the-board spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and many domestic programs. Those cuts, postponed by the recent "fiscal cliff" deal, are the result of the failure of a 2011 congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee to reach an agreement.
Boehner also previously insisted that any increase in borrowing authority - which would avoid lapses in payments to contractors, unemployment benefits or Social Security checks - be matched with spending cuts.
Wednesday's measure suspends the $16.4 trillion cap on federal borrowing and resets it on May 19 to reflect the additional borrowing required between the date the bill becomes law and then.
With the debt battle averted, the next fight comes in March over across-the-board cuts that would pare $85 billion from this year's budget.
Called a sequester, the cuts were never intended to take effect but were instead aimed at driving the two sides to a large budget bargain in order to avoid them.
Obama and his Democratic allies want additional revenue to be part of the solution to replacing the cuts, while Republicans say tax increases are off the table since Obama forced increases on the wealthy earlier this month.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.