Liberal members urge clean debt-ceiling hike

Liberal congressman Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has gathered 20 signatures by Democratic colleagues on a letter urging House Democratic leadership to back a clean raising of the nation's debt ceiling in May.

Over the weekend, the Obama administration began sending signals it could be open to attaching a deficit-reduction plan to the debt ceiling hike. The liberal members want the caucus to establish a "position" that only a bill without any such attachments is acceptable.

According to the Treasury Department, the U.S. will reach the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit by May 16. Republicans are demanding deep spending cuts as a concession for raising this limit.

"Congress will soon be required to vote on whether to extend the debt limit, which, according to Secretary Geithner, will be breached by mid-May. We ask you to convene a caucus to discuss and establish a Democratic position in favor of a clean extension of the debt ceiling," the Welch letter states.

"The debt ceiling vote is about one thing: affirming that America pays its bills. It does not authorize new taxpayer obligations; it affirms to the world our commitment to pay obligations already incurred.

"To do otherwise, or to threaten to do so, or to leverage our duty to pay our bills to achieve a partisan advantage in budget disputes, jeopardizes the full faith and credit of the United States of America," it states.