House Leaders on Both Sides Agree: No Short Term Debt Limit Increase

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Two members of House leadership came to an agreement on a portion of the ongoing battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling in separate media events Tuesday.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., both said that a temporary bill that extends the nation's borrowing authority for a short period of time is not the preferred option.

"I don't see how multiple votes get us to where we need to go," Cantor said, "It's my preference we do this one time."

Hoyer believes a short term bill will continue to "roil the markets."

"All that does is continue the uncertainty," Hoyer said. Hoyer would like to see the limit raised enough to last the government through January 1, 2013, but added that as a last resort a short term deal was better than no deal.

While the debate over what a deal on raising the nation's debt ceiling includes remains uncertain, Hoyer already has the name picked out: the "Default Prevention Act." He said that passing an extension soon is essential to "make sure America does not default on paying its bills."

The so-called "Biden Group," led by the vice president, continues to work out a deal on raising the limit on the nation's credit card behind closed doors. And as time winds down to the August 2 deadline for an increase, Cantor, a member of the group, says the room has been heating up. "It's crunch time now in those meetings," Cantor told reporters Tuesday, "We are at some really tough stuff."

Despite the immediate risk of default, Hoyer said it was important that the deal not impose "draconian" budget cuts in the short term. "Government investment does make a difference," in growing the economy Hoyer noted.

The whip noted that while Democratic support would probably be necessary to get the debt ceiling proposal through the House, it would be difficult to find members of the minority that would support a measure that only had spending cuts. "It's hard to see how you get to two or four trillion in reductions without revenues or draconian cuts that Democrats would not support," he said.

Passing a debt ceiling increase will not, according to Hoyer, relieve pressure on the nation to address its debt and deficit in the short and long term.

Despite the difficulty in reaching a solution, Cantor insisted that a deal must get done. Failure to do so "Poses potential peril for all of us on both sides of the aisle," he said.