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Democrats Looking to Obama to Help Advance Debt Increase

Senate Democrats are looking to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday to provide a push for the debt limit increase. The chamber is scheduled to vote on the $1.9 trillion increase Thursday, but it remains unclear whether Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has enough support to pass it. Asked Wednesday whether he would vote for the debt increase, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) was coy. “I think we’ve got to return to— pay-as-you-go budgeting rules, Casey said. “It’s going to be difficult to make progress on the deficit and the debt until we get out of the ditch.— The chamber will vote Thursday on a Reid amendment that would enact PAYGO rules. That amendment is expected to pass, and if coupled with an agreement on a presidentially appointed debt commission, Reid might be able to woo enough Democrats and some Republicans to vote in favor of the final debt package. “My hope is [Obama] will embrace a number of initiatives,— Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said. “With those important proposals being made by the president, it should help not just with the legislation, but to reduce the deficit as well.—Hours before addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, Obama backed the PAYGO rules. “The President is committed to returning our government back to a path of fiscal discipline, and PAYGO represents a key step toward that goal,— a White House statement read. Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, maintained Wednesday that “we believe we have a good shot— at passing both the PAYGO amendment and the $1.9 trillion increase.

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