Democrats May Vote Against Debt Ceiling Deal
President Joe Biden is under pressure as Democrats in Congress are dissatisfied with how the debt ceiling talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have progressed and may vote against a deal that they believe compromises too much.
Warning from House Minority Leader
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) issued a warning on May 25 to Biden and McCarthy that members of his caucus wouldn’t automatically accept any debt-ceiling compromise made between the two if it violates the party’s core principles.
When asked if Republican leaders were wrong to assume that House Democrats would support a Republican bill backed by Biden, Jeffries responded, “Yes.”
“It’s a miscalculation to assume that simply any agreement that House Republicans are able to reach will, by definition, trigger a sufficient number of Democratic votes—if that agreement undermines our values,” Jeffries told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Democrats Express Frustration
During the news conference on May 25, Jeffries also criticized Republicans for their “unacceptable” demands and expressed confidence that Biden will maintain his position.
Jeffries’s remarks came after some Democrats expressed frustration with the progress of negotiations in recent days.
“We’re not going to take a deal that hurts working people,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said during a press conference on May 25. “We’ve been very clear about that.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), a House progressive, asked Biden to halt debt limit talks with House Republicans, labeling them “economic terrorists.”
“I’m very frustrated,” he told CNN. “I mean, we don’t negotiate with terrorists globally, why are we going to negotiate with the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party?”
Bowman added that he’s “very concerned” that Biden will cave to Republican demands for spending cuts.
On May 19, dozens of House progressives sent a letter (pdf) to Biden, warning him that they “cannot support a harmful agreement” to raise the debt ceiling, instead urging him to invoke the 14th Amendment.
Some have suggested that the president can invoke the 14th Amendment, which allows him to act unilaterally to ensure that the country doesn’t default, if Congress doesn’t act. However, the president has frequently stated that the alternative isn’t practical because it doesn’t address the problem in the short term.
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