Calling for a clean debt limit increase, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday said the nation cannot handle another Republican-manufactured crisis. She also called for compromise on a continuing resolution to fund the government.
Pelosi said Democrats can supply the votes if they get to have a say in fixing the nation’s fiscal problems.
“Democrats support a clean increase in the debt limit,” Pelosi said at weekly press conference. “The votes are there.”
House Republicans plan to vote on a stopgap funding bill on Friday to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1. That temporary funding measure will remove funding for the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he expects to “deliver a big victory” in his chamber and urged Senate colleagues to take up the fight. But there is some confusion among GOP senators on how to proceed. While the likes of Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., see defunding Obamacare as the only way forward, others don’t want to risk a government shutdown and the centrists are uncertain whether they will back the bill until they see what’s in it.
‘Playing With Fire’
The Senate can use a vote to remove the language to defund Obamacare from the bill and return the bill to the House. At that point, Democratic help might be needed to pass the resolution.
Even then, the fight to defund Obamacare won’t end. On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., promised to make it a part of the debt-ceiling negotiations.
Pelosi said shutting down the government is one thing, but not lifting the debt limit is “unleashing a torrent, a river of no return.” She called it “beyond cataclysmic,” saying it would pose a danger to the stability of the markets, could lead to a credit downgrade, and might raise interest rates that affect families and businesses.
“This is playing with fire,” Pelosi said. “Legislative arsonists are at work when they start using the debt limit for their own personal agenda.”