A senior House Democrat on Monday alleged that Republicans want the short-term debt increase in order to kill the economic recovery and blame President Obama for high unemployment.
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyThis week: Pelosi's test Dem senators drop objection to FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: FCC chief lashes out at GOP | Obama takes on fake news | Bill would delay new hacking powers MORE (D-Mass.) on Monday said that a two-stop approach being weighed by House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan delays committee assignments until 2017 Lobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run MORE (R-Ohio) to force another debt-ceiling vote next year was a "cynical" ploy to keep a cloud over the economy.
He went on to say the showdown over the size of the debt limit increase will be “because of their plan to not end [the crisis] now, but to have it end sometime before the next election to basically make it very difficult to have an effective economic recovery.”
Markey spoke at a press conference held to highlight the flaws Democrats see in the 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill moving to the House floor later Monday. It is by far the most controversial of the 2012 spending bills considered so far, and contains 39 “anti-environmental” riders, according to Democrats.
At the same press conference, House Appropriations Committee ranking member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who has a history of cordial relations with GOP appropriators, distanced himself from Markey’s remarks.
“I honestly think they believe what they are saying, that cutting spending will grow the economy. … I do not think their intent is to harm the economy,” he said when asked to comment on what Markey said.
Dicks emphasized that the effect of GOP cuts will nonetheless harm the economy, and said more attention needs to be paid in the ongoing negotiations over the debt ceiling to short-term stimulus measures to create jobs.
Dicks declined to say whether he could accept a debt-ceiling compromise that does not contain revenues. Such a plan is being floated by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director Cures bill clears first Senate hurdle Dem senator had 'constructive' talk with Trump MORE (D-Nev.), according to sources.
At the same press conference, Rep. Jim MoranJim MoranGOP Rep. Comstock holds on to Virginia House seat 10 races Democrats must win to take the House House Dem: Congress needs 'courage' to call for its own pay raise MORE (D-Va.) signaled his strong opposition to any debt-ceiling plan, such as the Reid draft, that does not contain revenues.
Dicks would not comment on what level of discretionary spending should be set in the deal for 2012, other than to say he hopes the level will be higher than the $1.019 trillion the House has temporarily adopted pursuant to the budget authored by Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Healthcare: Senate advances cures bill | GOP's ObamaCare lawsuit on hold Could bipartisanship rise with Trump government? Ryan delays committee assignments until 2017 MORE (R-Wis.).
In many ways, this discretionary number is the most important aspect of the debt-ceiling compromise, since it is the least likely to get reversed in the future by Congress. Dicks said he hopes the debt-ceiling deal will avert a third government shutdown crisis after Sept. 30, when appropriations bills need to be reconciled.