House Republicans to hold vote on debt limit increase
May 24th, 2011
03:04 PM ET
11 years ago

House Republicans to hold vote on debt limit increase

Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders have scheduled a vote next week to raise the debt limit without any spending cuts attached in order to demonstrate that a so-called "clean extension" preferred by President Barack Obama and some congressional Democrats cannot pass in the GOP-majority chamber.

According to several aides, GOP leaders announced the move Tuesday at their regular weekly meeting with rank and file Republicans.

The Republican proposal, sponsored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, would raise the Treasury's borrowing authority by $2.4 trillion, which is the same amount in Obama's proposed budget, and would give the Treasury Department the authority to continue paying its bills through December 2012.

The vote is not expected to get any Republican support, dooming its chances of winning House approval.

Bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden are continuing this week on proposals to cut federal spending and potentially reform entitlement programs.

Republican leaders intend for the planned House vote to demonstrate that Democrats seeking a "clean extension" are not serious about reducing the deficit, an issue voters continue to rank as among the most important priorities this year.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, has been pushing for a clean vote in the House to raise the debt limit, saying he has more than 100 Democrats signed on to support such a bill. Democrats who want a "clean" bill say they prefer to separate the debt-ceiling vote from spending cuts because a protracted political debate on the issue would put at risk the "full faith and credit" of the United States.
However, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has insisted that any increase in the debt limit must be linked to spending cuts greater than the amount that the borrowing authority is raised.

"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," said Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, adding, "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."

Before word of the GOP proposal made its way around Capitol Hill, the number two House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, told reporters that he and a "significant number" of Democrats supported a clean extension. Later, however, Hoyer put out a statement qualifying his earlier comments by saying he would not vote for a debt limit extension if it's only to make a political point.

"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," Hoyer's statement said.

Hoyer also warned Tuesday that holding a vote to prove a straight extension can't pass would have ramifications beyond sending a message to Democrats.

"It'll be a message to the world; it will be a message to the financial community, a message to investors and borrowers," Hoyer said.

Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, agreed that the vote will prove a political point.

"Next week the House will vote 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," Dayspring said.

Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, dismissed the move by Republicans as a "dangerous political stunt." Levin acknowledged that Congress should take steps to cut spending, but said a failed vote on the issue would result in a backlash from the financial markets.

"We should set a framework for immediate and long-term deficit reduction, but not by ending Medicare and doubling seniors' health care costs, as Republicans have advocated," Levin said. "And not by threatening a default that numerous economists and CEOs have warned would have calamitous consequences and jeopardize our economic recovery."

Updated 3:05 p.m.

Filed under: Debt • House Republicans
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Peggy - TX

    Using the threat of not raising the dept ceiling is like holding a gun to the American economy and demanding ransom – it is unacceptable.

    Raise the dept ceiling, as that is not negotiable, then negotiate the budget.

    Please do not crash the stock market. If it does crash, it will be blamed on the one metaphorically holding the gun.

    May 24, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    The democrats submitted plenty of jobs bills - the republicans filibustered them. Period.

    May 24, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    Even the extremely important issue of the debt ceiling can be dumbed-down to manipulate the tea-pend morons who follow fox.
    It has nothing to do with what will be spent, it has only about what has already been spent. You know – two wars, unwarranted tax subsidies (pay-back) for oil companies and wealthy elites, no-bid and no-accountability contracts for corporate supporters (more pay-back), all while the US was under Republican rule.

    May 24, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Kenny K

    "Unless you are one of them, the top 2% of income earners pay more tax as a percentage of income than you do. The Bush tax cuts were for everyone, but the higher wage earners still pay a higher percentage."

    Both Democrat and Republican are right on tax paid by rich people in this country, depend on the direction you are looking from. Dollar amount-wise, republican is correct that rich people pay MORE in tax per person than others. On the other hand, Percentage-wise, democrat is correct that rich people pay LESS in tax per person than others.

    May 24, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Kenny K

    Both Democrats and Republicans are right on tax paid by rich people in this country, depend on the direction you are looking from.

    Dollar amount-wise, republican is correct that rich people pay MORE in tax per person than others. On the other hand, Percentage-wise, democrat is correct that rich people pay LESS in tax per person than others.

    May 24, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. OneMoreTime

    @ Sniffit and RudyNYC: Thanks for your comments and I always agree with you all.

    May 24, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Unless you are one of them, the top 2% of income earners pay more tax as a percentage of income than you do."

    No, that is a blatant falsehood. I won't call it a lie because I'm pretty certain you just don't know better. Their base rate is higher, assuming you're not in the same bracket, but the reality is that only the extremely wealthy are able to take advantage of all sorts of deductions and loopholes in the tax code, such that their EFFECTIVE TAX RATE IS ALMOST ALWAYS LOWER than what is paid by your average middle-class worker who files a 1040 EZ form or has relatively little in the way of investments. Factor in that the wealthiest 2% frequently makes most of their income via capital gains, which are taxed at 15%, and the problem expands exponentially.

    And before you start yammering about "yeah but X% pays Y% of the taxes while 50% pay almost nothing," please go somewhere to learn that the Republican system of wealth redistribution, a/k/a "trickle-down economics," has resulted in a massive shift of wealth ans assets to the already wealthy, such that the top 20% OWNS 80% OF THE COUNTRY'S WEALTH....1% OF THE COUNTRY MAKES 25% OF THE TOTAL NATIONAL INCOME...400 AMERICAN FAMILIES HAVE A COMBINED NET WORTH GREATER THAN 150,000,000 AMERICANS. Don't talk about things you don't understand. Go take an algebra class and then learn what the statistics actually are.

    May 24, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. randy

    I will say again, if social security is such a good idea, why is it mandatory. I would much rather invest that money on my own than be forced to pay it in. Let's look a couple very possible scenarios.
    1. If i live to 90 and continue to invest and only live off earnings, I leave a very nice nest egg to my children or spouse.
    2. I live to 65 everything I have invested again turns into a nice nest egg for my children or spouse.
    3. If I choose not to invest and live off social security until 90 I live just above the poverty level. I hope my house is paid for before I retire, because there is no way to finish paying for it with only Social Security coming in.
    4. I live to 65, everything I paid in to Social Security is lost, and my spouse now has half of the income.
    I'll stick with investing.

    May 24, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. John

    If the Republican In the House had any brain and not vote for another bill that going to help them out of office. They better pass the bill to Rise the dept Limit. It had got any thing to do with the budget cuts. All is has to do Is protect America credit rating ,and for the America to make It bill on time. You Republican want some budget to go with It , Than get are Troop out of these two Country and put a end to the WARS. Heck they don't want us there anyway, every time something happen over there It the American Troops fault. It time to bring them home. This will save Trillion of dollar , But It may hurt your Republican Big Business friends.

    May 24, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. ztank

    Yeah, so the Republicans are going to put forth a bill to show that this bill won't pass, because it will be voted down by Republicans. Wait, what's the point of putting forth the bill?

    And then they go to Tea Party rallies and rail on Government inefficiency and how we need less government.

    Classic Boehner. Classic.

    May 24, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. HAD ENOUGH? 9% unemployment, massive foreclosures, $4-5/gal gas, $1.7 TRILLION deficits, $14 TRILLION debt, Obamacare, Libyan war, unsecure borders, illegal alien invasion, alienated allies, embolden enemies

    I wish the repubs would just get out of the way and let the dems fix everything already. Obama/Biden 2012

    May 24, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. John

    John Boehner should start Listening to the American People, Because we know he and the Republican In the House didn't on the Paul Ryan Plan. So they better this time and rise the Dept Limit with nothing else In the Bill. You can fight for the budget cuts later, Because this does have anything to do with the Dept. This Is to save America Credit rating In the World market and to Pay American Bill on time. So you republican better wise up and do the right thing and Rise IT. You Republican In the House can't afford to mess up again.

    May 24, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. john

    We are watching, vote to raise the debt limit and we will vote you out !

    May 24, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Ex-GOP Con

    So Boehner....when are you going to cut Congress's taxpayer paid welfare ("healthcare") benefits? Surely since you all make a 6 figure salary you can afford that.

    The right IS becoming deranged.

    May 24, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Barry

    It appears that our elected officials can’t seem to get it together and solve this terribly serious budget problem.

    Perhaps we need to send lobbyists down there with suitcases full of cash, to induce them to take action. That seems to be the only way to get them moving.

    It kind of makes you wonder whether our so called democratic system isn’t broken beyond repair or terminally ill, due to corruption on both sides—doesn’t it!

    May 24, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Bill

    "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," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday following the meeting.

    The American people reject it??? Once again, these GOP legislators don't represent the majority of Americans or understand how Americans feel. Let's see what happens when the debt limit is not raised and the US goes into default. The consequences will be severe for ALL Americans but especially for those in power who allowed it to happen when the next election cycle rolls around.

    May 24, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    Four and The Door

    Raising the debt limit without cost reductions attached would make a mockery of the whole idea of a debt limit. As difficult as it is for Democrats to reduce spending, the time is now. It is time to be responsible now.
    Four and the Door, you just continue to show a stunning lack of knowledge. Courtesy of MPeters from yesterday under the comments for "Why the debt ceiling doubters are wrong" - this would include you:

    "he Debt Ceiling is for PAST debt obligations. The Federal Government already appropriated funds–BY LAW–that must be spent. The Debt limit is what they can legally borrow in excess of what they have collected in revenue (represents the shortfall in what we actually raised to pay for stuff and what we obligated ourselves to pay), i.e., it represents PAST DEBT FOR MONEY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT. By not authorizing an increase, America defaults on its debtors. This will happen REGARDLESS of whether we cut spending or not, because the money we are talking about has already been spent AND we owe interest on it (which means we have to pay that money too). I think you need some economics courses, or accounting courses. Something."

    May 24, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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