The "fiscal cliff" deal avoided new year tax increases on all families making less than $450,000 and delayed automatic spending cuts, known as "the sequester," for two months. But the agreement — passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama — did not address the debt ceiling.
"I don't see a grand bargain occurring here. I wish there was," Johnson, R-Wis., said. "I don't think this is going to be solved with a 90-yard 'Hail Mary' pass. I think this is going to be a 'ground game.'"
But there's new urgency on a decision to raise the debt ceiling. A new analysis released Monday by the Bipartisan Policy Center said that the government will be unable to meet all of its spending obligations as early as mid-February. The borrowing limit of $16.4 trillion was reached at the end of last year, and the Treasury Department has been taking "extraordinary measures" ever since to pay the bills.
(Read More: No More Mr. Nice Guy: Obama Ready for 2nd Term Battles)
The debt ceiling issue is muddying the budget discussions that need to happen to replace the postponed the sequester with more targeted spending cuts — a process that promises to pick up where the "cliff" deal left off, with Republicans demanding more spending cuts and the president calling for more revenue.