When President Joe Biden meets with congressional leadership on Tuesday, he’s going to hit a brick wall of resistance from the top two Republicans: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The duo are in lock-step agreement: Make cuts that could force a recession, or they will destroy the economy by taking the country and the global economy over a fiscal cliff.
Forty-three Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, just joined the extremists of the House Freedom Caucus.. They all signed onto a letter spearheaded by Utah Sen. Mike Lee declaring themselves in lockstep with the House economic radicals on the debt ceiling, promising to filibuster any bill that raises the debt ceiling without including “substantive spending and budget reforms.” As we’ve previously reported, those cuts include slashing VA staffing and veterans services.
That’s a “very favorable outcome for us,” Lee gleefully told Fox News, explaining how the filibuster is going to allow Republicans to extort Democrats into economic chaos.
McConnell is leaving no doubt here: He won’t intervene to help Biden. He told Biden as much in a phone call last week, insisting that it’s McCarthy’s and the Freedom Caucus’ way or the highway on the issue of paying the nation’s bills. He’s joined with McCarthy “until hell freezes,” one Republican senator promised to Politico.
If Congress doesn’t agree to raising the debt limit in the next few weeks, the nation will default on its debts, 25% of which was racked up on the Republicans’ watch in the Trump administration. The U.S. will reach its borrowing limit, or the debt ceiling, in the first week of June. That limit was set by Congress in the last agreement at $31.4 trillion. The government needs to borrow to keep meeting its budgets, and to pay things like Social Security, Medicare benefits, and even the salaries of the military service members.
Default isn’t an option, or at least it shouldn’t be, since economists warn that it would have "massive and far-reaching" impact on global trade, pushing other countries into a recession. The cuts Republicans are now united behind could eliminate 780,000 jobs by the end of next year, and “meaningfully increase the likelihood” of a recession, according to Moody’s Analytics latest report.
That’s the Republican plan heading into 2024: inflict maximum economic pain through default or draconian spending cuts and then pin it on Biden.
Meanwhile, the Biden team is facing a difficult decision: Biden can negotiate with the radicals and hurt the economy, or he can act unilaterally to raise the debt ceiling. So far, that doesn’t seem like an option he’s seriously considering. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said over the weekend that Biden using his authority to override Congress on this one would create a constitutional crisis, although many believe the 14th Amendment gives the president authority to go it alone to ensure the government’s bills are paid on time.
Biden has a crisis on his hands either way, and he shouldn’t look to Republicans to help in any way, shape or form. By the end of May, Biden will have to decide whether he wants to test the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling and potentially invoke a constitutional crisis that would play out in court after House Republicans sue for using an untested power, or whether he lets Republicans shove us all off the economic cliff. It’s a stark choice, but one Biden is increasingly likely going to have to make because the consequences will soon be felt by all.
Biden needs to go it alone on the debt ceiling
House Republicans pass debt ceiling bill to the delight of the extremists
The debt ceiling is officially a hostage of House maniacs. Biden needs to neutralize the issue
2023 may be an off-year, but that just means Virginia takes its traditional place as one of the key states to watch. With odd-year state elections, Virginia has often been a key bellwether for the rest of the country and this year is no different. Both the State Senate and the General Assembly are up and both chambers could be won by either party. Daily Kos Elections Editor Jeff Singer joins us to preview the key races in both the June primary and the fall general election.