The no. 2 House Democrat chastised the chamber’s controlling Republicans for scheduling a “charade” vote Tuesday to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and advised his party colleagues not to support it.
“It will not be an adult moment on the floor of the House of Representatives, which is of course what [House Speaker John A.] Boehner said it would be when we considered the debt limit extension,” said House Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland during his weekly briefing with reporters Tuesday.
“To put something on the floor for the purpose of seeing it fail, particularly putting on the floor a bill of this consequence without any opportunity to debate in any significant way, or to amend in any way, is demonstration of the fact that this is simply a political charade.”
Mr. Hoyer said he doesn’t advise his Democratic colleagues to support the GOP measure and “subject themselves to being politically gained.”
“If Republicans were prepared to work on a bipartisan basis on this issue … then I would be prepared to urge at least half of my members to support the extension of the debt limit, including myself,” the Maryland Democrat said. “But my advice to them is not to play this political charade.”
Mr. Hoyer said voting “no” or “present” are two options.
Leaders of both parties agree the nation’s $14.294 trillion debit ceiling — the legal limit on how much money the government can burrow to pay for its operations and debt — must soon be raised or the nation risks another financial crisis.
The government hit the debt limit this month, though Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he can juggle accounts until Aug. 2.
Republicans have insisted that spending cuts accompany any increase in the debt ceiling. Democrats counter the debit limit is too serious a matter for it to be “held hostage” with potentially controversial spending cuts.
Republican leaders scheduled a straight up or down vote for Tuesday evening to allow their members — particularly those backed by the conservative tea party movement — to go on record to show they won’t support any debt ceiling increase unless it includes spending cuts.
The bill was submitted under a “suspension of the rules,” which means amendments won’t be allowed. Passage also will require the support of two-thirds of those voting, instead of a simple majority.