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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Jittery Democrats worried about Biden debt ceiling concessions

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Liberals are increasingly worried about what concessions President Biden might make in his debt ceiling talks with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

While all parties in the talks are united in the White House’s strategy, more Democrats are expressing concern about what could be on the chopping block to prevent the country from defaulting.

“I am concerned because the president sometimes veers toward the right to acquaint so-called independent voters, and Americans want us to be bold and stand firm,” the congressman said. Jamal Bowman (DNY) told reporters on Tuesday. “And to make sure we keep our promises.”

His comments have added to the chorus of Democrats in recent days showing concern about how far bipartisan talks on the nation’s borrowing limit could go.

Biden surprised many in his base over the weekend when he appeared to open the door to tougher work requirements for some federally aided programs.

Pressed by reporters on whether he was open to the idea as part of the bipartisan debt limit discussion, Biden admitted voting for “a stronger aid program that is now in law” but said “it’s not for Medicaid.” It’s a different story.”

“So I’m waiting to hear what their exact proposals are,” Biden said.

The White House appeared to struggle to walk back its comments on Monday. But his comments have prompted some Democrats to worry that the GOP’s offer of aid to raise work requirements for other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is part of the food stamp program Also known as, fits into ongoing negotiations.

On Tuesday, McCarthy said that including a work requirement in the debt ceiling bill was a “red line” for him, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies said that its inclusion was “unsolicited”.

“I’m very concerned about it and we’ll just have to see. Hopefully they don’t get to that point,” Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said of the talks when reporters asked if the job requirements Change has not started.

“I’m still very concerned about anything that harms people on even a small amount of food assistance,” said Stabenow, the third Democratic senator.

And Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) voiced his concern in a statement Tuesday.

“Nobody I’ve met wants to be on SNAP for the rest of their lives. You need it to live. Big bank CEOs didn’t come to Washington to plunder vital support from labor at the same time they nearly wrecked the economy and flew to Hawaii without paying taxes. “I cannot in good conscience support a debt limit proposal that drives people into poverty.”

Asked Tuesday about criticism that Biden is making too many concessions, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said the talks were “very productive in our view.”

“This is a president who’s been around the block a few times. He knows how to do business. He knows how it works. And there’s someone more experienced at knowing how to do that,” she said.

For months, the White House refused to negotiate a debt ceiling increase. And Democrats showed a united front behind the president by rejecting requests from House Republicans to come to the negotiating table.

But Congress is eyeing a potentially chaotic two-week extension through June 1 – the earliest the Treasury has warned the country is at risk of defaulting on its federal debt – for both sides to quickly strike a deal. feeling the pressure.

Democrats oppose a Republican bill that would raise the debt ceiling passed by the House last month. Suspend the administration’s popular student loan decision.

But since talks between the White House and House Republican leadership began last week, lawmakers have further discussed on Capitol Hill more areas of potential compromise outlined in the House Republican bills, including proposals to limit partially hashed government funding. Went. many conversations. Annual appropriations process over the next 10 years.

Passed by the House, the bill would limit discretionary funding to the fiscal year 2022 level, limiting annual spending growth to 1% per year.

But in recent days, reports have emerged that negotiators are considering a two-year deal that includes a proposal to raise the debt ceiling while limiting spending. It could be an uphill climb in a divided parliament.

While Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told The Hill last week he was open to rolling back previously approved coronavirus funding, which Republicans say is not yet mandated, prominent moderates have expressed concerns about potential caps. I am careful. ,

“I mean,”I think there is some low-hanging fruit that we can see,” said Cuellar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “But if you start getting into budget caps or all of that, then I’m going to look very carefully as an appropriator.”

“I would be very optimistic,” McCarthy told reporters after meeting with Biden on Tuesday, indicating that the two sides had a ways to go before starting talks.

“So the structure of the way we negotiate has been improved. So while we only have a few days left to get this done, we now have a better shot at it,” McCarthy said.

But the risks are high as more experts warn of potentially devastating consequences on the economy.

Secretary Janet Yellen said in a speech Tuesday that Americans are already seeing “the effects of the destabilization strategy,” noting changes in bond markets in recent weeks.

“Investors are becoming increasingly reluctant to own Treasuries maturing in early June,” Yellen said at the Independent Community Bankers of America 2023 Capital Summit. “And this impasse has already increased the debt burden for American taxpayers, as leaders of the Treasury Department’s Borrowing Advisory Committee said last week.”

But there are concerns among Democrats that go beyond the threat of default.

“Republicans want to eliminate programs for children, the elderly, the sick and the poor in general. Not allowed. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters.

He also questioned the White House’s confidence in the strategy during the talks, saying instead that he would “find out more” after Tuesday’s meeting.

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