Hoyer blasts GOP debt-ceiling 'gimmick,' may vote for it

Hoyer said he hasn't decided if Democratic leaders will whip their troops one way or another on the vote, which is expected Wednesday.


"I haven't made that determination," he said. "I want to discuss with members and with leadership."

But he reiterated that the three-month patch is preferable to default.

"Look, I think this bill is a game bill. It's not a substantive response to a serious problem," Hoyer said. "Having said that, I've made it very clear that defaulting is not an option."

Hoyer's comments arrive as the momentum is growing behind the Republicans' plan to suspend the debt ceiling limit by three months, effectively allowing the Treasury Department to borrow money to pay its obligations over that span. Without congressional action, the agency is expected to begin defaulting on those debts as early as the middle of February.

As a sweetener for conservative Republicans wary of more borrowing, GOP leaders have included a provision to withhold congressional salaries if members of the House and Senate fail to pass a budget resolution through their respective chambers by April 15. 

Putting strong pressure on Democrats to support the measure, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that President Obama “welcomes” the GOP package and “would not stand in the way of the bill becoming law.”

House Democratic leaders are meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss their strategy.