Hoyer: GOP debt-ceiling vote a 'charade'

A GOP proposal to deny President Obama's requested debt-ceiling hike is a meaningless "charade" that will only delay action on more substantial issues, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer charged Tuesday.

The Maryland Democrat said the measure, scheduled for a House vote Wednesday, has no chance of passing, but is designed only to score political points by highlighting multitrillion-dollar deficits under Obama’s reign.

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"We need to be real. The American public expect us to talk truth to them," Hoyer said during his weekly press conference in the Capitol. "Unfortunately, the only thing we have on this week's agenda is a charade, a pretense, an abdication of responsibility.

"The process that was set up … ensure[s] its failure," Hoyer added. "The resolution of disapproval will not pass."

As part of last summer's debt-ceiling deal, Republicans included language to stage a vote on a resolution disapproving the move — a provision providing conservative lawmakers with another opportunity to register their opposition, even as no one thinks the resolution will pass.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that deficit spending for fiscal year 2012 will be $973 billion — down from its projected figure of $1.2 trillion in January 2009, just before Obama took over the White House, but still much higher than historic levels.

Republicans concede that Obama inherited a fiscal mess, but insist he hasn't done nearly enough to reduce spending over the last three years.

The office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that this week's vote on the disapproval measure is "an indictment of the administration’s reckless spending binge that has driven America’s economy down a disastrous fiscal path."

Hoyer warned Tuesday that if the disapproval measure were to pass, it would prevent the government from paying its bills, thereby threatening the fragile economic recovery both at home and worldwide.

"It's not whether you're for or against debt," Hoyer said. "It is simply whether you're for or against America remaining a responsible payer of its obligations."

Hoyer is hardly the only critic of the GOP's strategy. Some rank-and-file Republicans have also hammered their leadership for essentially approving the debt-ceiling hike by supporting last August's deal.

“The deal we cut in August: that’s a joke,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) recently told The Hill.

“I do have some anger with my own leadership," he added. "The Republican establishment was just as misleading about a default as the Democrats."