President Joe Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have a strained relationship as Biden seeks to persuade Congress to authorize trillions of dollars to fund his program, as the federal government approaches a critical debt deadline in a matter of weeks.
Both have pointed fingers at what may be the first government debt default. It's unknown if the two leaders have spoken in the last several days. Both have stated that they are open to the possibility.
Biden torches McConnell as "hypocritical"
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the debt ceiling again on Wednesday, with Republicans vowing to vote no. Democrats have a razor-thin Senate majority, necessitating a bipartisan vote unless procedural tactics are utilized to offer a Democrat-only vote, as McConnell has proposed, Newsweek reported.
Biden and Democratic leaders are attempting to approve a $3.5 trillion extension of the social safety net, which McConnell opposes. It'll be accompanied by a second infrastructure measure that has bipartisan backing.
President Joe Biden slammed Senate Republicans for obstructing Democratic efforts to renew the country's capacity to pay its debts on Monday, calling them "hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful," as per the Business Insider.
Biden outlined the dire repercussions of failing to increase the debt ceiling by the October 18 deadline, when the Treasury Department's emergency cash reserves to finance federal operations will be depleted.
He predicted that Social Security payments to the elderly would be suspended and that millions of US military would be unable to get their wages on time. Mitch McConnell reiterated his demand on Monday that Democrats unilaterally raise the debt ceiling using reconciliation. This particular legislative maneuver requires only a simple majority vote and is the same tactic Democrats are using to pass their $3.5 trillion social spending bill.
Only hours before the press conference, the Kentucky Republican wrote Biden a letter in which he directly challenged the president. Since the summer, he's led the fight against raising the debt ceiling, claiming that the GOP didn't want to open the door to a stream of additional Democratic-only spending.
Biden administration believes they gain traction with the general public
Later on Monday, Senate Republicans are expected to oppose another Democratic proposal to raise the debt ceiling. Some Republicans see it as a way to derail a bigger Democratic spending proposal aimed at boosting healthcare, childcare, and education.
Despite failing to gain traction with Republicans, Biden officials and close allies think they are impacting the general public. Officials from the Democratic Party cited a lengthy range of editorials and opinion pieces from critical swing states as proof that Republicans are to blame for the impasse.
They believe that a debate that was once seen as a Beltway preoccupation with terrible economic repercussions is now resonating with average Americans. Republicans, on the other hand, are placing two bets.
Per POLITICO, the first is that the general public will be unable to distinguish between typical debt and the obscure regulations around the debt cap. The second is that people will blame the ruling party if the economy suffers.
When confronted with these possibilities, some progressives hope the White House will go far further - and think more imaginatively - than it does now. Josh Bivens, the director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, said he's grown to prefer a path proposed by some Democrats, which would postpone the debt ceiling for years and years.