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Posted at 03:28 PM ET, 05/24/2011

Reid: Vote on raising debt limit without conditions ‘sends a terrible message’ to financial markets

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he opposes the idea of a planned House vote next week to raise the debt ceiling without any conditions, noting that House Republican leaders have said they expect that the measure will not pass and suggesting that international financial markets may respond negatively to the vote.

“My personal feeling is I think it sends a terrible message to the international community,” Reid said after Senate Democrats’ weekly caucus luncheon. “They’re bringing up something that they know is going to fail. That’s what I’m told. They are going to bring it up, they said, so they can show it won’t pass. I mean, how does that help what we’re trying to do?”

Reid, who spoke shortly before Vice President Biden was to sit down with bipartisan House and Senate leaders to continue their work on a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan, said that he believes the Biden group is trying to reach a deal to “do something that the international community thinks is responsible in addressing the problems we have with the debt.” Next week’s debt-limit vote, he suggested, would undermine the work of that group.

“I can’t think of a way that is much more irresponsible than bringing up an extension of the debt limit extension just to show it can’t pass,” Reid said. “That’s not very good, I don’t think.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, said Tuesday that he thinks that not many members of either party will be willing to back the “clean” debt-limit extension.

“Well, I guess my first reaction to that is it’ll be interesting to see how many members of the House of Representatives of either party any longer believe that it’s a good idea to pass a clean debt ceiling, to raise the debt ceiling with no spending reduction at all,” McConnell said when asked about next week’s planned vote.

“My guess is, there are not going to be many members left who believe that’s a good idea, which brings us back to the moment of maximum opportunity to really do something about our $14 trillion debt and our over $50 trillion of unfunded liabilities,” he added. “And it’s going to be the discussions going on in and around the decision to raise the debt ceiling.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who has previously backed a clean debt-limit extension, sounded a negative note when asked Tuesday about the House Republican plan for a clean debt-limit vote, saying in a statement that he would vote “no” on next week’s measure.

By  |  03:28 PM ET, 05/24/2011

 
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