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Democratic Rank and File Urge Clean Debt Limit Vote

Nearly four-dozen House Democrats signed a letter to their leadership, calling for a clean vote on raising the debt limit.

The call comes in the face of bartering between President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans over what should be included in the package to avoid a default on the national debt.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Monday afternoon that they would need to include new controls on spending in order to pass the measure through both chambers.

Reps. Peter Welch (Vt.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), David Price (N.C.), John Conyers (Mich.), John Garamendi (Calif.) and others Wednesday afternoon called on Republicans to stop “holding the economy hostage.”

While Welch recognized the difficulty in getting a bill without other fiscal measures passed, he said raising taxes and spending controls need to be a part of the budget debate.

“Everyone who is here is totally committed to restoring fiscal stability to this country and I think all of us here favor an all of the above approach to doing that,” Welch said. “Those have to be debated separately. We cannot hold hostage American’s full faith and credit.”

The 46 co-signers of the letter want Democratic leaders to establish a position in favor of a “clean” extension of the debt ceiling.

“The debt ceiling vote is about one thing: affirming that America pays its bills,” the lawmakers wrote. “It does not authorize new taxpayer obligations; it affirms to the world our commitment to pay obligations already incurred.”

Rep. Sam Farr (Calif.), an appropriator, and Blumenauer acknowledged in the past that they had split their votes on whether to support an increase in the debt limit. Raising the limit is usually a partisan vote carried by the majority party.

But Farr said that while it would be “easy to sit out” and let Republicans be forced to find the votes, the situation of the country on the international and domestic front is too fragile to play politics.

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