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POLITICS: PennAve

Steny Hoyer calls House GOP's strategy to raise debt limit 'irresponsible'

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Congress,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Steny Hoyer,Budgets and Deficits

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday he expects at least 180 of 199 available Democrats to vote in support of the House Republicans' "clean" bill to increase the debt ceiling.

But the Maryland lawmaker chastised House Speaker John Boehner's approach that requires Democrats to carry the load for ensuring the measure gets the 218 votes needed for passage, calling it "irresponsible."

"The speaker of the House, the leader of his party, cannot get more than … 18 votes for something he says is absolutely essential to do. That is a party that is rudderless," he said. "He's the leader of his party. He dag-gone well ought to get more than 17 or 18 Republicans to be responsible."

"If that's a political strategy, which I don't discount, it is an extraordinarily cynical and irresponsible policy," he continued.

Boehner announced Tuesday he would pursue a debt bill without add-ons after House Republicans failed to get behind a package pushed by GOP leaders a day earlier that tied raising the federal borrowing limit to reversing a cut in military pensions. A vote is likely for Tuesday evening.

The speaker told reporters he was "going to have to find" the handful of GOP votes needed to ensure the bill's success.

When Hoyer was asked about a comment from Boehner that the debt limit was President Obama's responsibility -- not Republicans -- the Democratic whip angrily called it "baloney."

"The speaker has said he wants to raise the debt limit, he said it's necessary to raise the debt limit," Hoyer said. "It's not worthy of serious consideration as a statement of fact. It is pure political demagoguery."

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Author:

Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner