Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Hoyer Predicts Debt Limit Increase Will Last Through Election Year

Steny Hoyer

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer predicted Wednesday that House Republicans will seek a debt ceiling increase that would run past the 2014 midterm elections.

“I don’t have a dollar amount but I do think Republicans — and I agree with them on this — are looking to get this through the next election. So whatever dollar amount gets you to January of 2015,” the Maryland Democrat said.

“Frankly, [Speaker John A.] Boehner recognizes the irresponsibility of this action, doesn’t want to take his party through it a second time in an election year as he did not the last time, as you recall, in 2011,” Hoyer added, referencing the eleventh-hour August 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Hoyer also said that Democrats aren’t wed to a number by which they want to raise the debt limit this time around.

Agreeing on a debt limit increase package that would put the issue to rest through the remainder of the 2014 election cycle would also be a relief to Democrats, who along with President Barack Obama have all but exhausted the talking point that they will not negotiate on “the full faith and credit of the United States.”

Congress has until Oct. 17 to pass a bill that prevents the government from defaulting on its debts. Though lawmakers had already been operating under the assumption that the default deadline would hit sometime in mid-October, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew confirmed the date on Wednesday morning, in a letter to House and Senate leaders.House Republicans are preparing to roll out a debt limit proposal in advance of a floor vote as early as the end of this week, with sweeteners attached that are expected to include a one-year delay of the 2010 health law’s implementation, a blueprint for an overhaul of the country’s tax code and instructions to begin construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t expected to take kindly to such a package.

“Apparently they’re now working on some Christmas tree-filled demands in order to raise the debt ceiling,” said Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a Wednesday event sponsored by The Atlantic.

Upon receiving that bill, Murray continued, “With a whole laundry list of their favorite stuff … we’ll send it back clean because that is the responsible thing to do.”

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

  • BenTheGuy

    Either get rid of the debt limit entirely or abide by it. Constantly raising it is ridiculous. I wish I could raise my credit card limit whenever I want, but I have to deal with reality. If I was in the government, I could live in a fantasy land where money is infinite and laws don’t matter.

  • Rick Caird

    Once again, Rollcall shows the ineptness of its reporters and their lack of understanding. Not passing a debt limit increase, does not cause a default on US bonds. The US can still redeem and reissue bonds. What it cannot do is issue additional bonds. If the debt ceiling increase were not to be passed, the the government could still function. It just could not spend anything above its revenues, which most ordinary people would deem proper.

    Look, Emma Dumain and her editor need to be fired for misleading the readers through their own lack of understanding. Anyone who reads this piece, now has a lower IQ. Or, is that the objective of Rollcall: producing an even less aware voting population.

  • megapotamus

    The Dems aren’t wed to a figure. Are they dating one? How about we raise it a nickel, is that enough? Nobody wants to spit out a figure because anything remotely plausible will raise total debt into the 20 t zone. Bad optics, ya know. Also the debt has magically been frozen for six months due to ‘extraordinary measures’ at the Fed, moving around cash inflows to cover operating expenses. But now the first order of business from any tranche of debt issuance is to repay those accounts, like federal pensions, with interest. So that first sale of $10b is already spent…. more than spent, already owed. Already gone. Whatever. If Obama refuses to negotiate, what is his demand? He won’t say.

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