debt limit

House leaders Monday unveiled legislation to permit the government to continue borrowing money through May 18 in order to stave off a first-ever default on U.S. obligations. It is slated for a vote Wednesday.

The measure marks a change in strategy for House Republicans, who have backed off demands that any extension of the government’s borrowing authority be accompanied by stiff spending cuts.

The legislation is also aimed at prodding Senate Democrats to pass a budget after almost four years of failing to do so. It would withhold the pay of lawmakers in the House or Senate if their chamber fails to pass a budget this year. House Republicans have passed budgets for two consecutive years, but the Senate hasn’t passed one since President Obama’s first year in office.

The current debt limit is $16.4 trillion. The legislation does not set a specific limit; rather it would automatically increase the limit by the amount required to fund U.S. government obligations through May 18.