White House expects McConnell to step back on debt ceiling again

Such conviction suggests that Washington is gearing up for another infuriating and potentially costly chicken game, only this time around, with the rest of Biden’s sprawling agenda thrown into the mix. McConnell insisted Democrats use the budget reconciliation process to pass a debt ceiling bill with only Democratic votes. But some Democrats bristled at the idea, arguing it could take too long on the ground and set a dangerous precedent.

Debt ceiling dead ends have been a baffling feature of the U.S. government in recent years, often involving haggling and a flickering side before the government defaults on its debt. This last go-around was different. Rather than demand spending cuts in exchange for their votes, Senate Republicans made no serious demands of Democrats. Instead, they argued that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should raise the debt limit through reconciliation and without them, even though they said they wanted to see the issue resolved.

After talks among Senate Democrats turned to changing the filibuster rules to allow a simple majority vote on the debt ceiling, McConnell nodded and ended the GOP filibuster, allowing a vote on the short-term extension. House veterans believe another resolution will now be passed by December.

“There are going to be a lot of twists and turns and unforeseen developments along the way,” said Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate leader and a veteran of past struggles to limit debt. “I think the bottom line is that they’ll find a way to do it, whether it’s through reconciliation or whatever.”

Biden officials have stressed they will again rely on Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to help manage the legislative mechanisms to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. But they argue that Republicans’ insistence on refusing to participate in the talks rings particularly hollow given that GOP senators did so when pushed.

“Congress took a welcome step forward over the past week by putting behind us a disastrous debt standoff, and Republicans demonstrated with their votes last Thursday that there was no reason why they can’t do the exact same thing in December by joining Democrats in raising the debt limit instead of triggering another showdown that would jeopardize millions of jobs, pay the military and benefit the elderly ” White House spokesman Mike Gwin said in a written statement.

Capitol Hill Democrats are worried about how this will all play out. While much of the focus has been on the Senate, House Democrats who have to defend nearby districts fear a complicated standoff could complicate their mid-term efforts, let alone their own reputations. having been forced to vote multiple times for a debt ceiling. raise. Some insist that it might be better to pocket their recent victory on the issue and do so simply through reconciliation.

This belief is rooted in the idea that even if McConnel changed his position previously, a default would be disastrous for the economy and the White House would not be able to dodge the blame.

“It’s dangerous for both sides,” said Ben Nelson, another former Democratic senator. “The biggest danger is probably the administration and the part that is in charge of the administration. But for anyone on the outside who thinks he escapes the implications and can blame the administration, I think he’s in the land.

McConnell’s office highlighted his letter where he pledged to no longer help on the debt ceiling, citing Biden’s massive welfare spending bill Democrats are negotiating and Schumer’s “partisan, angry and corrosive” speech criticizing Republicans for reaching “the edge of the cliff” after the last limit vote debt.

Underlying the White House’s confidence in handling a second debt ceiling deadlock is a broader belief that Americans are tired of high-stakes political politics. They also believe their pressure manual – a slow boil of like-minded allies speaking out about the dangers and culminating with Biden using the intimidation pulpit – ultimately succeeded.

Officials plan to take a similar approach of methodically increasing volume as the new deadline draws near.

“Basically,” Gwin concluded, “we cannot allow partisan politics to hold our economy hostage, and we cannot allow the routine process of paying our bills to turn into political football that puts our country on the back burner. in danger every two years, or every two months. “

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