Monday morning at the White House began with President Biden’s Marine One arrival to the White House from Wilmington, DE.
President Biden addressed the nation from the podium at 11 am Eastern Time, in front of a very limited press corps “due to COVID-19 restrictions,” as stated in the official memo coming out of the White House press shop.
At the eleventh hour, President was able to sign legislation for the government funding to continue until December 3rd. Still, with the default crisis looming over the American horizon, Biden is aware that the time is running out for the bipartisan agreement with the Republicans on the debt ceiling increase.
“There is a cap on what we can borrow and only Congress can increase or lower what we can borrow,” said Biden in his remarks stressing that “Raising the debt limit is about paying the old debts” and that there’s nothing new about that.
United States, Biden was clear, is “a nation that pays its bills, always.” He said that “since its inception, we never defaulted.” This, however, can change as the United States nears a political and economic cliffhanger. Social security benefits for seniors, salaries and benefits for service members and veterans, and other financial obligations are in jeopardy. To make the case more dramatic, interests rates will go up and that means higher rates for car loans and mortgages.
Biden stressed that “raising the debt limit is usually a bipartisan endeavor,” and he blamed the Trump administration for the bills America has to pay.
“Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Trump was President but now won’t raise it” Biden shared his disappointment with the Republicans and asked them to “get out of the way” so that the Democrats can act.
Will America default and not be able to meet its obligations for the first time in history? How far are the Republicans willing to go with their political showdown in keeping America hostage?
If you ask former President Trump, hand-twisting over the debt ceiling is “a very strong card to play [where Republicans] can get a lot of what they want.” In an interview with Yahoo finance this morning, Trump did not hide his intention regarding the tactics he would want the Republicans to pursue.
Mitch McConnel came out with a two-page letter before Biden’s speech contradicting Trump.
“Republicans’ position is simple. We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well.”
According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the U.S. government would likely default by October 18th.
As the risk of U.S. default spikes, McConnel claims that the Republicans won’t provide the votes for the debt ceiling increase and that Biden should work the votes out with the members of his party. If the Democrats want to increase the debt limit, they will have to do it independently, or else, McConnel reaffirmed the Republican position.
“Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job,” McConnel said to Biden.
Two things are evident. President Biden is hoping to avoid economic collapse by placing a moral obligations on Republicans to help him with a bipartisan vote.
Republicans are playing a high-stakes poker game by saying no to a bipartisan debt ceiling increase. The impasse will resolve, eventually. The only question is at what cost for the Biden administration.