A senior Senate Democratic aide said caucus leaders backed the administration’s call for authority to raise the debt limit without congressional approval. “We’re on the same page,” the aide said.
A senior House Democratic aide said the proposal would provide that the president could raise the debt limit but that Congress could vote to block it with legislation. The president could veto that action, and Congress could override that with a two-thirds majority of both chambers.
House Rules Chairman David Dreier of California portrayed Obama’s proposal as an attempt to revive a variation of the so-called “Gephardt rule,” named for former Majority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri, which provided that a debt limit increase would come with approval of a budget resolution and without a separate vote on the debt limit increase itself.
Dreier said that would be strongly opposed by the GOP. “It’s not a good idea. This is one of the very important tools that we have, ” Dreier said.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, said the plan is simply “a distraction that allows the White House to continue to run out the clock so it can have maximal leverage to force through a bad deal in the last minutes before midnight.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.