Raising the rhetorical stakes, the White House on Thursday called out Republican congressional leaders who administration officials said are being hypocritical in their reluctance to increase the nation’s debt limit, saying the four lawmakers approved higher borrowing routinely until now.
“Collectively, the Republican negotiators in this room with the president have voted to raise the debt limit 25 times” since 1990, said presidential spokesman Jay Carney.
He said Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, has voted six times to raise the debt ceiling; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, has approved more borrowing five times; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, eight; and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, six times.
When a reporter pointed out that then-Sen. Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006, Mr. Carney replied, “And he has made very clear that he now views that as a mistake.”
Mr. Cantor’s office did not respond immediately to the White House comments. Mr. McConnell has proposed a plan that would allow the U.S. to avoid default by essentially giving the president new authority to raise the debt limit in three steps without cutting spending simultaneously.