Pressure is mounting on President Joe Biden and the Democrat Party over debt ceiling negotiations ahead of Tuesday’s White House summit with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Biden is scheduled to meet with McCarthy and congressional leaders to have a “conversation” about raising the debt limit to avoid defaulting on the debt as soon as June 1. In April, House Republicans passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling and cut wasteful government spending. But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has refused to hold a Senate vote on the bill, while the White House has claimed it will not negotiate on raising the debt limit.
“There shouldn’t be negotiations on the debt limit,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday. “This is something that they [Congress] should get to regular order and get to work on. We should not have House Republicans manufacturing a crisis.”
The Democrats stonewalling position comes at a desperate time for Biden. Washington Post-ABC News polling on Sunday showed Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup by seven points. Gallup polling on Tuesday indicated Americans have little confidence in the Biden administration’s economic team.
Only 34 percent and 38 percent of Americans expressed a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in Biden, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters he accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation and will attend debt ceiling negotiations at the White House next week. https://t.co/XgWZo0JBd1— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 3, 2023
“Biden needs to change his tune. The American people aren’t believing his lies, they want to see real action,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Hill. “We passed a bill – I want to see the senate take it up. Let’s put the senate on the record on cutting woke and weaponized government spending, restoring energy security, and getting back to fiscal sanity.”
During the summit, Biden is expected to make clear the Republican bill would cut too much wasteful spending — nearly 14 percent over a decade. But Schumer has not proposed any legislation to negotiate with House Republicans. And Biden remains resistant to the GOP legislation, leaving Democrats, not Republicans, seen as driving the nation over a fiscal cliff.
“They have to now step up and act like responsible leaders,” House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said on CNBC Monday. “We’ve done that, and we have set that example, and we have placed in their hands a list of proposals that we have gotten consensus on. It’s their time to respond, and the American people expect them to.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), House Financial Services Committee chair, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday he is unsure how the Biden administration will find common ground with Republicans with its current stonewalling position.
“At this stage of the game, the one key ingredient I don’t have is what the administration would come to terms with,” he said.
As the federal government spends more than it raises in revenue, debt limit negotiations are often a contentious battle in Washington, DC. Those debt negotiations have included Biden. In 2011, Biden played a key role during the Obama administration in negotiating a debt limit increase, contrasting his current position.
“I have had the great honor of spending hours and hours and hours with you, covering my negotiating the debt limit and other things with the leaders of the Republican Party,” Biden boasted in 2012 to NBC News.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.