By Mike Lillis - 07/26/11 08:22 PM EDT
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) announced Tuesday that he'll oppose the Republicans' two-step plan to raise the debt ceiling.
Shuler, a member of the conservative Blue Dog coalition, was one of just five Democrats to support the Republicans' "cut, cap and balance" proposal earlier this month.
But Shuler said he's drawing the line at the latest GOP debt-ceiling proposal, which he called "fiscally irresponsible and nothing more than political posturing that threatens the economic security of our country."
"To suggest that we should subject the country and the markets to this level of uncertainty about the full faith and credit of the United States government in a few short months is extremely reckless," Shuler said in a statement.
"National and international bond rating agencies have already stated that a short-term extension will result in a downgrading of America’s credit rating. That will mean higher mortgages, car payments, and credit card interest rates for American consumers, further threatening our economic recovery."
Shuler's announcement is bad news for GOP leaders, who are struggling to rally the votes to pass their proposal in the face of conservative defections.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Republicans on Tuesday not to count on support for Democrats to pass Boehner's plan. They want to put the entire burden of passing the bill on House Republicans.
Echoing Democratic leaders, Shuler is urging a larger bill to raise the debt ceiling beyond the six months proposed by Republicans.
"We simply cannot afford to kick the can a little further down the road," he said. "That is how we got in this position in the first place. Now is the time for the adults in Congress to come together, reach a bipartisan solution, and put America on a sustainable fiscal path for generations to come."
The House Rules Committee considered the two-step bill Tuesday. It could hit the House floor as early as Wednesday.