The Democrats’ vote-counter in the House of Representatives says the GOP will need his help to raise the national debt limit — but they won’t get it if they don’t put everything on the table, including tax revenues.
“Speaker Boehner needed Democratic votes to pass keeping government running, even at minimal levels,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing, in response to a question from TPM. “So my presumption is [Senator] Schumer is right.”
Schumer was the first Democratic leader to argue that the GOP can’t raise the debt limit without agreeing to new tax revenues — something they’ve thus far refused. Hoyer says he won’t pitch in Democratic votes unless Republicans relent.
“I’ve told Mr. Boehner that I will help,” Hoyer said. “Now I’m not going to help on some draconian do it my way or the highway vote, but we Democrats are prepared to co-operate in order to assure that the creditworthiness of the United States is not put at risk and to move towards a fiscally responsible path…everything needs to be on the table, and when I say everything I mean everything…. Revenues need to be a significant part of it.”
Boehner has insisted in repeated statements that significant revenue increases can’t pass the House. If Hoyer’s right, then neither can a debt limit deal that does not include higher taxes of some kind. Another reporter asked Hoyer if Congress can figure a way out of conundrum.
“Not if David Brooks’ premise, that the Republicans are unprepared to take yes for an answer, are unprepared to make any compromises and simply say ‘my way or the highway,’” he said. “Then I think it will be very difficult to do.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.