The president’s notification to congressional leaders yesterday starts a 15-day countdown for lawmakers to consider and vote on a joint resolution disapproving of the increase.
Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said the House is expected to vote on a resolution on Jan. 18. The Senate, where Democrats hold a majority, returns to work the following week.
Under legislation passed Aug. 2 after months of negotiating between the administration and Republican lawmakers, the president has authority to veto any disapproval resolution that clears both chambers of Congress.
While the request to raise the debt ceiling is a formality laid out in last year’s agreement, the national debt will play into the presidential campaign and congressional races that will be decided in November. After the economy and jobs, the federal deficit is among the top concerns mentioned by voters in polls.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner used the request to criticize Obama on the budget and the deficit.
“This request is another reminder that the president has consistently punted on the tough choices needed to rein in the deficit and protect important programs for American seniors from going bankrupt,” Brendan Buck said in an e-mail.