Obama delays petition for $1.2T debt limit increase at request of congressional leaders
President Barack Obama is delaying his request for another $1.2 trillion increase in the nation’s debt limit at the request of congressional leaders.
It’s basically because of a technicality.
The White House had been ready to ask for the increase Friday because the government is within $100 billion of exhausting its current borrowing authority. Congress would then have 15 days to reject the request, though Obama would veto any objections in order to ensure that the government does not default on its obligations.
But with Congress not due to return to Washington until mid-January, a bipartisan group of lawmakers asked Obama to delay his request so they would be in session during the 15-day period allowed for objections.
“The administration is in discussions with leaders in both houses to determine the best timing for submission of certification and any subsequent votes in the two houses,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.
Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, said the House leadership preferred not having to call members back to Washington early to vote on the increase request, but would have done so if necessary.
A senior White House official said Obama will make his request within days. The Treasury Department will use accounting measures to ensure that the nation does not reach its debt limit before the $1.2 trillion increase is finalized, said the official, who requested anonymity because the person lacked authority to speak publically.
The debt limit is the amount the government can borrow to finance its operations. It has soared because the government has run record deficits over the past decade. The borrowed money has helped pay for two wars, stimulate the nation’s economy after the worst recession since the Great Depression and keep intact broad tax cuts initiated during the Bush administration.