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Democrats Fear Debt Fallout

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Minority Whip Steny Hoyer advised fellow Democrats not to vote in favor of the debt ceiling increase.

A Republican campaign aide said the party also hammered Democrats on the debt limit increase in December 2009 and February 2010. Both times, the NRCC went after nearly 50 Democrats in swing districts for giving “party leaders a $300 billion blank check” and used the floor vote to paint a broader scene of reckless spending in Washington. Now, the GOP is making the debt limit issue its own headline and calling out Members for failing to curb spending.

While they were seeking cover for the issue Tuesday, Democrats also sought to show themselves to be strong on the economy by seeking bipartisan solutions to the debt problem.

Hoyer said he would continue to engage in discussions and would seek answers during his caucus’s meeting with President Barack Obama later this week.

A Democratic strategist off the Hill said the Republicans’ vote on the debt ceiling is “just another example of Republicans not taking the economic crisis seriously,” while Rep. Peter Welch said that it is no wonder Congressional approval ratings are so low given the political theatrics House Republicans are engaging in.

The Vermont Democrat, who voted for the $2.4 trillion increase, described Republicans as “transforming Washington doublespeak into triple-speak” because they introduced legislation they said they would oppose while telling Wall Street that they would eventually pass a debt limit increase.

“The legislation presents Members with a choice of casting a meaningless vote yes or a meaningless vote no,” Welch said Tuesday. “It will come and it will go; the problem we face of paying our bills and resolving our long-term deficit will remain.”

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