The debt ceiling showdown between Democrats and Republicans seems likely to end with a last-minute deal, despite opposition from conservatives and progressives. The agreement, supported by rank-and-file members on both sides, will raise the debt ceiling and impose modest spending restraints. It’s a familiar scenario that Washington has faced before, and the outcome is predictable.
However, the Democrats’ plan has faltered so far. Led by President Biden, they refused to negotiate for months, assuming that Republican disunity would prevent any GOP plan from gaining traction. Democrats hoped to blame Republicans for any dysfunction and pressure them into a “clean” debt ceiling hike. But the dynamic shifted when the House Republicans passed a bill that restrained federal spending while raising the debt limit. Democrats have struggled to adapt to this new reality and have offered incoherent messaging.
Despite finally agreeing to talks, President Biden left the country, and discussions broke down recently due to multiple issues. As the June deadline approaches, Democrats may continue blaming Republicans, but the truth is that Republicans have taken action to prevent default with legislation. The fact remains that a majority of American voters elected a GOP-run House of Representatives, signaling a desire for divided government and compromise. Biden’s poor approval ratings and the potential consequences of a default or recession could be politically detrimental for him.
It’s important to note that Republicans are the only ones who have passed a debt limit extension bill with popular provisions. Polling from battleground districts shows support for reclaiming unspent COVID funds, enhanced welfare work requirements, and reducing discretionary spending to pre-pandemic levels. Democrats have resorted to lying about the bill, falsely claiming it would cut veterans’ benefits. The disarray among Democrats is evident as they struggle with negotiations and debate using the 14th Amendment to raise the debt limit unilaterally.
Democrats could have passed a debt ceiling increase when they held all the power, but they chose not to. Now, they can’t even agree on whether they are negotiating over the debt limit. Some propose unconstitutional actions while wasting time and avoiding productive discussions. The root problem lies in excessive government spending, with tax receipts exceeding historical norms while outlays reach abnormal highs. Democrats push for higher spending despite public opposition to such an approach.
President Biden’s weak performance has undermined his standing, and allowing a default on the debt is not an option for his administration. Speaker McCarthy holds a strong hand with the House-passed plan being the only viable option. It’s crucial to remember that the national debt affects everyday Americans, and addressing this issue is of utmost importance.