Hoyer Predicts Debt Limit Increase Will Last Through Election Year

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer predicted Wednesday that House Republicans will seek a debt ceiling increase that would run past the 2014 midterm elections.

"I don’t have a dollar amount but I do think Republicans — and I agree with them on this — are looking to get this through the next election. So whatever dollar amount gets you to January of 2015," the Maryland Democrat said.

"Frankly, [Speaker John A.] Boehner recognizes the irresponsibility of this action, doesn’t want to take his party through it a second time in an election year as he did not the last time, as you recall, in 2011," Hoyer added, referencing the eleventh-hour August 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Hoyer also said that Democrats aren't wed to a number by which they want to raise the debt limit this time around.

Agreeing on a debt limit increase package that would put the issue to rest through the remainder of the 2014 election cycle would also be a relief to Democrats, who along with President Barack Obama have all but exhausted the talking point that they will not negotiate on "the full faith and credit of the United States."

Congress has until Oct. 17 to pass a bill that prevents the government from defaulting on its debts. Though lawmakers had already been operating under the assumption that the default deadline would hit sometime in mid-October, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew confirmed the date on Wednesday morning, in a letter to House and Senate leaders.House Republicans are preparing to roll out a debt limit proposal in advance of a floor vote as early as the end of this week, with sweeteners attached that are expected to include a one-year delay of the 2010 health law's implementation, a blueprint for an overhaul of the country's tax code and instructions to begin construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Democratic-controlled Senate isn't expected to take kindly to such a package.

"Apparently they're now working on some Christmas tree-filled demands in order to raise the debt ceiling," said Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a Wednesday event sponsored by The Atlantic.

Upon receiving that bill, Murray continued, "With a whole laundry list of their favorite stuff ... we'll send it back clean because that is the responsible thing to do."

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.