House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is worried that the debate over raising the debt limit could devolve into a political hot potato as the 2012 elections creep closer.

Hoyer called House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a "responsible individual." But noted that the speaker is "being pushed clearly to the far right by the base of his party."

Hoyer specifically dismissed suggestions that Congress raise the debt ceiling incrementally, perhaps voting as frequently as once a month on the issue.

"That would further destabilize the markets," Hoyer said, noting that the markets can't respond to "fits and starts."

Hoyer expressed measured optimism that a series of talks between bipartisan Congressional leaders and chaired by Vice President Biden could blaze a path to a debt ceiling vote. The second round of those conversations is slated for Tuesday afternoon at Blair House.

"Vice President Biden has been at this business for a long time," Hoyer said. "He has a real talent for bringing together disparate views."

Republicans are ruling out tax increases and demanding deep spending cuts before holding a debt ceiling vote. Regardless, neither party has the votes in hand to approve an increase in the debt limit.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the government has until August 2 before the U.S. could default on its obligations, unless Congress approves a debt ceiling increase. The debt ceiling is the total amount of debt the government is allowed to carry at any one time.