Republicans in the House of Representatives plan on introducing a bill that would call for a “clean vote” on raising the debt limit despite the legislation being unlikely to pass.
The vote to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit without any spending cuts attached to the bill will be held next week, and Republicans have said it would show President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats that any deal to increase the debt ceiling would not pass Congress unless significant cuts were included.
“The legislation I filed today will allow the House to reject a clean increase in the debt limit, proving to the American people, the financial markets and the administration that we are serious about tackling our debt and deficit problems,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
The bill will increase the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, which is the amount needed under Obama’s budget proposal to pay for government expenditures through 2012.
Republicans have said the government must stop spending and borrowing more than it takes in and will not approve more borrowing until spending can be controlled.
“Increasing the debt limit without showing that we can achieve real spending restraint would likely lead to very similar results as default: a lower credit rating, higher borrowing costs and more expensive imports,” Camp’s statement said. “Such irresponsibility would most certainly increase the cost of oil and gas, making the pain at the pump that much worse. All of that is bad for the economy, bad for job creation and bad for American families.”
“The Obama administration’s request for a debt-limit increase without spending cuts is dangerous for jobs and our economy, and the American people reject it,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said. “This vote will show that the administration’s proposal cannot pass in the House, and that major spending cuts and reforms must be part of the solution.”
Democrats, on the other hand, have said they recognize the need to reduce the deficit, but that playing games with the debt ceiling and threatening not to raise it at all would put in jeopardy the full faith and credit of the United States and make the Great Recession seem like child’s play. More than 100 House Democrats signed a letter asking the Republicans to allow a clean vote on lifting the debt limit.
“I will not vote for a clean debt-limit extension if no Republicans vote for it and instead use it just to demagogue,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. “We need to pursue a responsible course to pay our bills and set forward a plan to reduce our deficits. I hope Republicans will work with us toward those goals, rather than making this a partisan issue used for political gain.”
“I’ll support it, but it’s transparently a political maneuver,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), the Democrat who led the push for a clean vote on the debt limit, said in an interview with The Hill. “What [GOP Majority Leader Eric] Cantor’s maneuver is about is playing politics with the debt limit. You try to find leverage where you can. The leverage [the GOP is] using is a loaded gun to the heart of the American economy.”
The vote is scheduled for sometime next week and even though it is not expected to pass and is purely symbolic, discussions are continuing between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders to reach an agreement on what it would take for Congress to raise the debt limit.
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