Democrats May Have to Deal With GOP on Debt Ceiling

Manchin says he has no interest in going with Republicans on Social Security cut
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2023 7:05 PM CST
Biden May Not Be Able to Avoid Talks With GOP on Debt Ceiling
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Biden meet after Biden arrived at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky, on Jan. 4.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The White House hasn't budged on negotiating with congressional Republicans over the debt ceiling—it's a "no"—but political professionals in both parties suggest talks will take place anyway. "Like the president has said many times, raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos," President Biden's press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters Friday. But Biden is scheduled to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about issues including this one, and the Republican cast the session differently. "President Biden: I accept your invitation to sit down and discuss a responsible debt ceiling increase to address irresponsible government spending," McCarthy tweeted, CBS News reports.

Democratic Rep. Mike Turner added to the confusion over the weekend when he said Biden is "opening negotiations with Republicans," per MSNBC. Whether Biden wants talks or not,
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation that he should meet with McCarthy about raising the debt ceiling, per the Hill. Republicans have instead suggested cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and they should put those proposals "on the table" so voters can see them, Kaine said. He backs raising the ceiling. "I don't think anyone should flirt with not paying the US credit card," he said.

A Democrat who doesn't always vote with his party said he wouldn't go along with such cuts. "I've got 60% of my population that that's all they have is Medicare and Social Security," West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said on NBC's Meet the Press, per CNBC. "The easiest and quickest thing that we can do is raise the cap," Manchin told CNN. A sincere negotiation on the issue, said former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a Democrat, would provide "an opportunity to deal with some of these long-term challenges that are critically important." (More debt ceiling stories.)

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