While Republicans Stand United, Democrats Are Already Splintering On Debt Limit Negotiations

As Republicans Back Speaker McCarthy’s Negotiations On The Debt Limit And Government Spending With The White House, Far-Left Democrats Are Already Sniping At President Biden

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Later today, I will attend a second discussion between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy on the nation’s debt limit…. The Biden Administration took three months to reach a conclusion that just about everyone else recognized from the beginning: that the only way forward is spending negotiations between the President and the Speaker. That’s how seven of the last ten debt limit increases have been secured. It’s how a Republican President and a Democratic Speaker avoided crisis four years ago. And it’s how a Democratic President and a Republican Speaker will avoid it this time around. Speaker McCarthy is right: The Senate Democrat majority hasn’t passed a bill to responsibly raise the debt ceiling. The House Republican majority has. So that’s where the solution to this looming crisis will be found. Last fall, the American people sent a divided government to Washington. They chose to require that President Biden work with House Republicans on the most consequential issues…. Time is of the essence. So for the second time, I will be glad to sit in at the White House, to support Speaker McCarthy, and to urge President Biden to start operating in reality.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/16/2023)


Multiple Reports Note ‘Growing Dismay Among Progressive Democrats’ That Biden ‘Is Preparing To Give On A Host Of GOP Demands’

“The emerging outline of a debt limit deal between Biden and House Republicans has fed growing dismay among progressive Democrats over the White House’s negotiating strategy — and raised fears that a president who once dared Republicans to test his resolve is preparing to give on a host of GOP demands to make the issue go away.” (“Biden Dives Into Debt Ceiling Talks, Causing Mini Panics Among His Base,” Politico, 5/15/2023)

“The fresh talks follow months in which Biden and his top aides insisted that the White House would not entertain making any trade-offs to raise the debt limit, saying that would set a dangerous precedent that encourages GOP brinkmanship. And yet, to some critics, the administration appears to be doing exactly that — following unrelenting pressure from the business community and even some moderate Democratic voices to enter bipartisan talks after the House passed a spending and debt limit bill last month.” (The Washington Post, 5/16/2023)

  • “Publicly, Biden administration officials are adamant that they are working with House Republicans on a deal to fund the federal government in the next fiscal year — not to raise the debt ceiling. Privately, however, even some Biden aides recognize that the negotiations appear to be in part about the debt limit. Behind the scenes, negotiators are clear that any deal on the budget must resolve the debt ceiling deadline, as well. Democratic negotiators also acknowledge that they will have to agree to more spending cuts if they want to secure a longer extension of the debt ceiling …” (The Washington Post, 5/16/2023)


Far-Left Democrats Say They’re ‘Very Concerned,’ ‘Not Optimistic In Terms Of What We’re Going To Give Up,’ And Claim ‘There Will Be A Huge Backlash’

“Progressives lawmakers are warning President Biden he could face blowback from the left if he cedes ground to Republicans in debt ceiling negotiations. … The progressive lawmakers shared concerns that Biden risks emboldening Republicans to make future demands if he abandons his refusal to sign anything other than a clean debt ceiling increase.” (“Biden Risks “Huge Backlash” From Left In Debt Ceiling Talks,” Axios, 5/15/2023)

  • SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): “There’s a number of things I’m hearing about that would cause me concerns, but I know there’s Democrats in those discussions who are also concerned about that.” (The Washington Post, 5/16/2023)
  • “On Monday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) led a group of lawmakers in sending a letter to Biden urging the White House not to accept new work requirements in discussions.” (The Washington Post, 5/16/2023)


In Sharp Contrast, Republicans In Both Chambers Are United Behind Speaker McCarthy Leading Negotiations With The White House

“McCarthy told House [Republicans] in a closed-door meeting that debt talks could be hitting a rocky period and that [Republicans]  should stick together. He said that [the White House] won’t get a ‘clean debt deal,’ according to an attendee. He praised his conference for sticking together and praise[d] McConnell.” (CNN’s Manu Raju, @mkraju, Twitter, 5/16/2023)

Senate Republicans: ‘The Adult In The Room Has Been Speaker McCarthy And The House Republicans,’ The President ‘Has To Work With Speaker McCarthy,’ ‘I'm Seeing A Higher Degree Of Resolve In Our Conference Behind’ The Speaker Leading Negotiations

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “Here is the political reality: The President can't raise the debt ceiling by himself. He has to work with Congress, and, more specifically, he has to work with Speaker McCarthy and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. That is just the reality. The American people sent divided government to Washington last November, and divided government requires compromise. It requires negotiation. Frankly, it is the height of arrogance for the President and the Senate Democratic leader to think that they are somehow the exception to that, to think that they should be able to simply decree what they want … House Republicans have proposed reasonable spending reforms. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget … called the Republican bill ‘a serious package’ and a ‘realistic and extremely welcome first step.’ But if the President doesn't like the House's proposed spending reforms, he should put forward his own spending reforms.” (Sen. Thune, Congressional Record, S.1581-1582, 5/10/2023)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): “[S]o many people said it back home … President Biden just needs to get to the table. He really does need to negotiate. They pointed out that this is the president that on day one said he was going to be the president that brings the parties together and yet he refuses to actually negotiate, have those discussions with Speaker McCarthy. So, Iowans are pretty smart. Just sit down, work it out, Mr. President. Come on, you can do that. So, only in Washington DC do we know and look to the future and think we can pay our bills with IOUs. And Iowans know better. They're not being duped. They need the President to work this out with Kevin McCarthy. And we need to focus on reining in our spending at the same time easing the pressure on Americans pocketbooks. So, let's get to it, Mr. President. Let's bring the parties together.” (Sen. Ernst, Press Conference, 5/10/2023)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT): “I'm proud of Speaker McCarthy, who didn't take a look at this looming crisis and say we're going to wait until we get up to the edge of the cliff and do nothing. He pulled Republicans together in the House and passed a responsible, responsible bill that lifts the debt ceiling in exchange for some spending restraints and reforms to the way the government spends money…. The adult in the room has been Speaker McCarthy and the House Republicans. It's childish to not negotiate. It's irresponsible not to negotiate. Failure to do so, could push the United States and the global markets into a place we've never been before and hope to never go.” (Sen. Daines, Press Conference, 5/10/2023)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “From the get-go, Speaker McCarthy has made it absolutely clear that a clean debt ceiling increase will not pass the House. The votes aren't there, plain and simple. Now, Senate Republicans have made it abundantly clear that a clean debt ceiling cannot pass the Senate. Those are the facts. It won't pass the House, and it can't pass the Senate. Last week, I joined 42 Republican colleagues in affirming our support for the House's proposal to initiate a negotiation to raise the debt ceiling. We signed a letter to Senator Schumer, that was led by my friend Senator Lee of Utah, saying, we will not vote for cloture on any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms…. I think we know what is going to happen. There has to be a negotiated outcome.” (Sen. Cornyn, Congressional Record, S.1557, 5/09/2023)

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): “I'm seeing a higher degree of resolve in our conference behind [Speaker McCarthy leading negotiations] than I've seen behind anything, almost ever, when it comes to the debt ceiling.” (“GOP Runs Unity Playbook To Win Debt Ceiling Fight,” Washington Examiner, 5/08/2023)

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): “They’re governing…. [House Republicans] demonstrated that last week against the odds of a lot of the pundits on the day of the vote, thinking they weren't going to pull it off. So, I think that's good leadership. And I like following good leadership.” (“GOP Runs Unity Playbook To Win Debt Ceiling Fight,” Washington Examiner, 5/08/2023)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): “We'll just have to wait and see what they come up with. I'm very pleased that we are where we are.” (“GOP Runs Unity Playbook To Win Debt Ceiling Fight,” Washington Examiner, 5/08/2023)

House Republicans: ‘We Need To Address Our Fiscal House, Our Spending In America. And I Commend The Senators For Standing Up And Doing That,’ ‘I Want Speaker McCarthy To Negotiate On Our Behalf And The President To Sit In The White House … To Address This Crisis Now’

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): “The American people are sick and disgusted by this dereliction of his duty, so that's why Congress has acted just like we did to address the debt ceiling two weeks ago. This is something we’ve been working on for months. Speaker McCarthy reached out early in our new majority to the president to address the debt ceiling before the midnight hour. You know, as Janet Yellen can pick the X date and maybe it’s June 1st, we didn't wait. We started taking action. The president said that he would meet with Speaker McCarthy. … There is no bill in the Senate. I’d love to see the bill Chuck Schumer has to address the debt ceiling crisis, but I guess he wants default because he won't even bring a bill to the floor to pass on his own. And so, if he wants default, we don’t. And so, we took action to address this crisis. And it’s not just the debt ceiling crisis where the credit card of the nation was maxed out by Joe Biden spending over the last two years, it’s also the spending problem in Washington that got us here.” (Rep. Steve Scalise, Press Conference, 5/10/2023)

REP. PATRICK McHENRY (R-NC): “[Y]ou have enough Republicans have signed on to Mike Lee’s letter. And I commend Senator Lee for putting that together and the help of many senators to say we’re not just going to have a clean debt ceiling increase. We need to address our fiscal house, our spending in America. And I commend the senators for standing up and doing that. Now, what they said, clearly is it’s in the speaker’s court to negotiate with President Biden. The only plan that’s been passed in Washington to raise the debt ceiling is the one out of a Republican House. So the White House needs to get serious and come to the table with the Speaker of the House and negotiate with us. If Senator Schumer wants to be at the table, well, giddy up, big boy. Pass a plan, and you can get to the table, too.” (Fox Business Network, 5/16/2023)

REP. JODY ARRINGTON (R-TX), House Budget Committee Chairman: “We passed a proposal that would raise the debt ceiling and pay the bills…. I am encouraged that the parties are at the table and that they’re talking…. And that’s more than what we’ve had for almost 100 days. ... I think what changed the dynamic was Republicans put a proposal on paper and passed it out of the House.” (“Congress Leaves Town With No Debt Ceiling Deal, But Some See Signs Of Progress,” NBC News, 5/12/2023)

REP. MARC MOLINARO (R-NY): “At the end of the day, we cannot default on America’s debt. I want Speaker McCarthy to negotiate on our behalf and the president to sit in the White House — not the Hudson Valley — to address this crisis now.” (The New York Times, 5/11/2023)

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): “The objective here is for everybody to negotiate in good faith and find an area of agreement…. None of us are going to get everything we want out of this. We don’t have one-party rule. And so, understanding that and accepting that means that you have to find compromise.” (The New York Times, 5/11/2023)

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): “A hundred days ago, House Republicans started crafting together a solution to bring our spending down to pre-COVID spending levels, and also preparing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion. We passed that plan a couple of weeks ago. Do you know what Joe Biden and the Democrats were doing? Nothing. They did nothing, except run to the cameras and say we should just pass a clean debt ceiling. Any family in any business in our country understands, you cannot just continue to spend massive amounts of money and borrow massive amounts of money and there will be no consequences. Every American family has already seen the first consequence from Joe Biden. And that is a massive inflation that has been the most insidious tax the American people have seen whether you’re rich or poor, whether you’re a black or white, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, it has come for everybody.” (Fox News Sunday, 5/14/2023)



Related Issues: Debt And Deficits