President Joe Biden is calling on Democrats and Republicans in Congress to “move forward” on a deal to raise the debt ceiling after a two-year suspension of the limit expired last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.
Congress voted to suspend the debt ceiling for two years as part of a bipartisan budget deal in August 2019, when the debt ceiling reached $22 trillion, according to Bloomberg. The Treasury Department is now scrambling to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt until around October, when Congress would be expected to raise or suspend the debt ceiling again.
An updated debt ceiling would include all additional borrowing since the 2019 budget deal, and is estimated at around $28.5 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“Republicans have been pretty clear over the last couple of days that they’re drawing a red line on the debt ceiling in terms of their willingness to negotiate — to consider a clean debt ceiling increase. Does the president want Democrats to move that through reconciliation or is he ready to have that fight at some point in September or October with Republicans — trying to get Republican support?” a reporter asked.
“The president believes that Democrats and Republican should move forward, as they did three times during the last administration, to raise the debt ceiling, something that they did even in the wake of the former president putting in place a $2 trillion tax cut that certainly did not do anything to reduce the deficit,” Psaki responded, taking a swipe at former President Donald Trump.
“So that’s his view, he believes they should move forward and do that, that’s responsible, the responsible step for our country,” she concluded.
Senate Democrats are planning to pass a $3.5 trillion budget measure using reconciliation, which allows the chamber to pass legislation with a simple majority. But the budget measure — which would not require a single Republican vote under reconciliation — is not expected to include language on raising or suspending the debt ceiling. (RELATED: Government Deficit On Pace To Be Second Largest In US History)
A top Democratic lawmaker said the party instead plans to negotiate with Republicans about including the debt ceiling in a short-term funding bill that would avert a potential government shutdown in late September, according to Politico.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Thursday that Republicans will not support raising the debt ceiling, The Hill reported. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell slammed Democrats for wanting “to ram through yet another reckless tax and spending spree without our input.”
“So let me make something perfectly clear: if they don’t need or want our input, they won’t get our help with the debt limit increase that these reckless plans will require,” McConnell said.