The House will vote next week on a measure that would raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit without any conditions. It’s a move by Republicans to put Democrats on record with a vote on a measure that is not expected to pass the House.
A House Republican leadership aide confirmed Tuesday that next week’s vote will be on a $2.4 trillion increase to the country’s borrowing limit and that no Republicans are expected to back the measure.
The scheduling of the vote comes as more than 100 liberal House Democrats are pushing for a “clean” extension of the debt limit, or one that does not have any conditions attached. Republicans have argued that any move by Congress to raise the federal borrowing limit must include a longer-term deficit-reduction plan, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said must include spending cuts that are at least equal to the amount by which the debt ceiling is raised.
With few, if any, Republicans expected to back the measure, it is not likely to progress in the GOP-led House. In that sense, the vote mirrors two other votes expected in the Senate this week -- one on the House Republican budget plan, and another on President Obama’s 2012 budget – as well as two energy-related measures that the Senate took up last week as a legislative response to rising gas prices.
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said Tuesday that the purpose of next week’s vote is “to show once and for all that the Democrats’ demands are way out of touch with the views of most Americans and the markets, who want Washington to stop spending money we don’t have, confront our debt head on, and finally begin to live within our means.”
Not all members of the House Democratic leadership support the plan. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the number-two House Democrat, said Tuesday that he would not support the clean debt limit measure if House Republicans are not also on board.
“I will not vote for a clean debt limit extension if no Republicans vote for it and instead use it just to demagogue,” Hoyer said in a statement. “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.”
The announcement comes as Vice President Biden is at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon for his third meeting with bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders aimed at working out a longer-term deficit-reduction deal.