Reports indicate growing number of Democrats call upon Biden to negotiate with McCarthy on debt limit increase

April 21, 2023
Ben Marquis

It has been known for months that the U.S. debt limit will be reached at some point this summer, potentially resulting in a default if legislation isn't passed to increase it, but President Joe Biden has adamantly refused to negotiate any sort of deal and instead has demanded a clean bill with no other terms attached.

That obstinance from Biden reportedly has concerned some Democrats and prompted calls from them for the president to relax his position and engage in negotiations with the Republicans who control the House, according to Breitbart.

GOP unveils plan to cut spending, raise debt limit

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Republican leadership unveiled this week a bill dubbed the Limit, Save, Grow Act that would raise the debt ceiling for another year but would also impose limits on federal spending and make reforms to existing programs to save taxpayers money and help grow the economy.

"The Limit, Save, Grow Act will limit federal spending, save taxpayers trillions of dollars, grow our economy, and lift the debt limit into next year. This legislation will make us less dependent on the whims of the Chinese Communist Party and curb high inflation, all without touching Social Security or Medicare -- because no one is hurt more by inflation than seniors," McCarthy and the GOP leaders said in a statement.

They added, "We owe it to the American people to save the economy, stand up for hardworking taxpayers, and return to a path to fiscal responsibility. President Biden has a choice: come to the table and stop playing partisan political games -- or cover his ears, refuse to negotiate, and risk bumbling his way into the first default in our nation’s history."

"Anxiety" among some Dems over Biden's obstinance

According to Axios, the White House immediately dismissed the Republican bill with President Biden himself saying in a speech on Wednesday that Republicans were threatening to force the nation into a default "unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have" about cutting spending in exchange for allowing more debt.

But the outlet also noted an air of "anxiety" among some Democrats who are now questioning the wisdom of Biden's refusal to even entertain the idea of negotiations with Republicans over an increase of the debt limit.

Indeed, while virtually all of the Democrats who spoke on the record to Axios made it clear that they didn't support all or even some of the aspects of the GOP bill, and would most likely vote against it as is, they nevertheless all insisted that Biden should at the very least sit down with Speaker McCarthy to discuss it.

Optics look bad for Democrats

A similar story was shared by Politico, which reported on Thursday that "a growing contingent of Democrats are acknowledging that Biden’s blanket refusal to engage with McCarthy may need to change -- especially if House Republicans manage to pass their bill as planned next week."

To be sure, the Democrats who spoke with that outlet also expressed their own personal opposition to the GOP bill and shared Biden's desire for a "clean" bill with nothing else attached to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default.

Yet, the fact that Biden hasn't met with McCarthy to speak about the debt limit since early February has prompted some concern among Democrats about how the optics of the president's staunch refusal to negotiate at all on the important issue could be perceived by the American public and potentially blowback negatively on the Democratic Party more broadly.

It is time to negotiate

Speaker McCarthy is well aware of the restive nature of a growing number of his Democratic colleagues in the House and compiled into a press release several quotes from Democratic members who have called upon President Biden to, at the very least, begin discussions with the speaker to see where it may lead.

Meanwhile, around the same time that House GOP leadership was introducing its Limit, Save, Grow Act to cut federal spending by around $4.5 trillion while raising the debt ceiling by another $1.5 trillion, a much smaller competing measure was put forward by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers known as the Problem Solvers Caucus.

They put forward a "framework" of a plan that would temporarily suspend the debt ceiling, create a special independent commission to review and make recommendations on all fiscal matters, and impose necessary reforms and restoration of regular order on the appropriations process -- all with the intended goal of spurring more negotiations and compromise between both sides on a longer-term deal.

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