December 30th, 2011
02:17 PM ET
The White House announced today that a planned request for Congress to approve an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling would be delayed by several days in order to prevent Congressional leaders from being forced to call members back early from their holiday recess.
According to Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the Budget Control Act passed earlier this year allows the President to “submit a written certification to Congress when the debt subject to limit is within $100 billion of the debt limit” and request an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit. After that certification is submitted, Congress has 15 days to vote on a resolution of disapproval – if they so choose.
If the White House was to submit its certification today, Congress would be required to come back early to voice its objections to the debt limit increase, as both the House and Senate are not due back in session for several weeks.
When exactly the certification would be submitted was not clear, but a senior White House official said that the delay should last days, not weeks. If both the House and the Senate voted to disapprove of the increase, the official said that the president would veto the resolution, and the debt ceiling would increase nonetheless.
The White House is saying that this move was taken to make it easier for members of Congress, and that this should have no impact on the credit worthiness of the country. There’s no specific estimate as to when exactly the country will run through its last $100 billion of borrowing ability, but according to the White House official, the Treasury Department will be able to employ some of the same accounting tricks it used over the summer to ensure that the debt limit is not reached before Congress has a chance to vote.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in a statement: "Our members want to vote on the resolution of disapproval provided in the Budget Control Act. It was our preference not to call members back early to do so, but would have if the timing of the submission required it."