House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is advising fellow Democrats to oppose the stand-alone debt limit bill coming up for a vote Tuesday evening.
Though the Maryland Democrat said he is not actively whipping against the measure, he said it is a "political charade" not deserving of his caucus' support.
"If the Republicans were prepared to work on a bipartisan basis on this issue, which is the only way we really do very tough things that are controversial, then I would be prepared to urge at least half my Members to support the extension of the debt limit, including myself," Hoyer said during his weekly session with reporters. "But my advice to them will be not to play this political charade."
"We will see what happens," he added. "My expectation is that the overwhelming number of Republicans will vote against raising the debt limit, which is to vote against America meeting its obligations and paying its bills."
Hoyer's comments came just hours before the House was scheduled to vote to increase the debt limit by more than $2 trillion. The bill is expected to fail because House Republicans have insisted that significant spending concessions be coupled with a debt ceiling increase. Tuesday's vote, which is not attached to any spending cuts, is intended to prove there is not enough support in the House to pass a free-standing debt limit hike.
More than 100 House Democrats, led by Rep. Peter Welch (Vt.), have been urging Congress to take up a stand-alone debt ceiling vote. Hoyer has not signed on to the letter, but he's been supportive of Welch's efforts.
A visibly irked Hoyer blasted the Republicans' decision to hold the vote, declaring the roll call "will not be an adult moment on the floor of the House of Representatives."
Still, he acknowledged the political difficulty of voting for a debt limit increase and said he was urging his colleagues to avoid "the demagoguery that would surely follow" Tuesday night's vote.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.