Top U.S. House Democrat Wants To Give Treasury Secretary Power To Limit Debt


United States House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) leaves the floor of the United States Capitol in Washington, United States on October 12, 2021. REUTERS / James Lawler Duggan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Reuters) – A senior Democratic official in the US House of Representatives said on Tuesday he would support the US Treasury Secretary’s authorization to unilaterally extend the federal borrowing limit, as Congress was then empowered to vote against such decisions.

“It’s a good option,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters at a weekly press conference. He said the Secretary of the Treasury should be allowed “to pass judgment”.

Hoyer’s remarks come as Congress faces a deadline in early December to increase the borrowing limit or push the federal government into an unprecedented default on its debt.

The task has been complicated by Republicans, who say they don’t want to see a default but at the same time voted against an increase in the debt ceiling, hoping Democrats will find a way to pass on their own such legislation within the deeply divided Congress.

Legislation to change the way Washington increases its borrowing power, which now has a limit of $ 28.9 trillion, would likely meet opposition in the Senate, where 60 of the 100 house votes are needed to do so. advance most laws.

Democrats objected to using a ‘budget reconciliation’ tool to approve an increase in the debt limit without any Republican input, saying the complex procedure would both take too long and set a bad precedent .

On a related issue, Hoyer said the House still aims to pass a bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure investment bill by the end of this month as well as a multibillion-dollar measure. reserved for Democrats expanding social programs and fighting climate change.

“We are committed to meeting the deadline of October 31. We are working very hard to have these two bills ready for passage by the House of Representatives before that date,” Hoyer said.

However, the House missed the deadline set at the end of September for these bills as moderates and progressives in the Democratic Party argue over the size and scope of the larger bill.

Republicans attacked the big spending initiatives Democrats wanted and argued that was why they would not vote for an increase in the debt ceiling, even though it primarily funds the spending they voted for. during the Trump administration.

Reporting by Jason Lange and Richard Cowan; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Chris Reese

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