Paul Ryan defused the likelihood of a government shutdown in January with the bipartisan budget deal he helped strike last week. But on Sunday he did nothing to tamp down the possibility of a showdown over the debt ceiling.
The House Budget chairman said that Republicans will gather after the holidays "and discuss exactly what it is we're going to try and get" for voting to suspend or raise the legal limit on federal borrowing.
Last week, the two parties largely put the usual hostilities aside as Ryan, a Republican, and Senate counterpart Patty Murray, a Democrat, struck a budget deal that avoids a shutdown until 2015. It has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.
But they didn't resolve the government's debt limit.
"We don't want nothing out of this debt limit," Ryan said in a solo appearance on Fox. "We're going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight."
He suggested Republicans would again push to pare back the president's health care law, but gave no specifics.
With Ryan by her aside in a joint appearance on NBC, Murray said of the debt ceiling, "We'll take that road when we get there."
The October deal that reopened the government suspended the debt limit until February 7. The government will be barred from borrowing additional funds starting February 8, leaving Treasury Secretary Jack Lew only with "extraordinary measures" that are not likely to last more than about a month.
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On Sunday, Murray and Ryan agreed a key accomplishment of the two-year deal was removing the threat of a government shutdown. A debt default could rock the global economy, but wouldn't immediately shut the federal government down.
President Obama has repeatedly dismissed the idea of negotiating over the debt limit or over the health care law. At a forum in November, he said, "I think that the way our system is set up is like a loaded gun, and once people thought we can get leverage on policy disputes by threatening default, that was an extraordinarily dangerous precedent."