White House demands debt ceiling hike 'without drama'

The White House on Thursday called on congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling quickly so the government can borrow more money and maintain its current level of spending, and asked that the GOP deliver this "without drama."

"I do think we're getting perilously close to the level of drama and delay that we believe is unnecessary, to put it mildly," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. He spoke hours after the Treasury Department announced that the U.S. would bump up against the legal debt ceiling by Nov. 3, and said failing to lift the debt ceiling would put the U.S. at risk of "not being able to pay our bills."

"There's no reason for us to engage in that kind of irresponsible brinksmanship; and it's why Republican leaders in Congress need to accept the responsibility that they have to act without drama and delay to raise the debt limit," he said.

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An increase in the debt ceiling is a sore point for Republicans, but the last few times the U.S. has been in this situation, the GOP managed to authorize more borrowing "without a lot of drama," he said.

Without raising the debt ceiling, the government would be forced to spend only the money it takes in, and thus would likely have to cut back a range of federal programs. Many Republicans have wanted to use the debt ceiling as a point of leverage to negotiate more spending cuts.

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