You are currently viewing The White House thinks that a debt ceiling agreement may require up to 100 Democratic votes.

The White House thinks that a debt ceiling agreement may require up to 100 Democratic votes.

Biden’s bargaining tactics have started to change as a result of the possibility of needing so many votes from inside the party.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO that White House aides privately believe they may need to get up to 100 Democratic votes to ensure that a future debt ceiling agreement can clear the House’s closely split chamber.

The unofficial forecast is motivated by lingering concerns among Biden officials about House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s capacity to persuade the vast majority of Republicans to support a bipartisan agreement, as well as the expectation that dozens of the most conservative members of the GOP are prepared to rebel against any sign of a compromise.

Top Democrats have known for some time that a debt ceiling agreement would need some Democratic backing, with Biden emphasizing for days that any workable solution to the impasse needed to be bipartisan. The sources familiar with the situation however emphasized that it’s still too early to say exactly how many Democrats would be needed to help McCarthy gain a majority, or even whether an agreement will be struck, since negotiators are still working out the terms of a legislative compromise.

However, the White House’s negotiating stance has been more and more molded by the awareness that the party may need to provide a sizeable portion of the House votes in order to avoid an economically ruinous default — not to mention passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate. In order to avoid inciting a backlash among Democrats who could be required to support a deal in the future, aides have become more vocal in their opposition to specific budget cutbacks and social assistance limits suggested by the GOP.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said, “It’s important that we don’t take steps back from the very strong agenda that the president himself shepherded and led over the last two years.” “The president needs to keep in mind that anything he negotiates must go through both chambers,” I told Leader [Hakeem] Jeffries and the White House.

According to two other people familiar with the discussions, the White House has rejected Republican attempts to increase work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program as well as attempts to impose significant spending cuts to a number of domestic programs. Republicans charged the administration with a “lack of urgency” on Tuesday, blaming such differences for the collapse of discussions over the weekend.

The White House, though, has retaliated, sending officials to Republicans to warn them that any agreement McCarthy makes would need to include the dozens of Democratic votes he’ll need to pass it through his chamber.

“The unanswered question is whether McCarthy can rally a majority for whatever deal he cuts when you know the big items are off the table,” one advisor close to the White House said. They lack clarity, in my opinion.

Asserting that their position has been reinforced by their ability to approve a package last month that raised the borrowing cap in exchange for significant expenditure cuts, McCarthy has repeatedly pushed his caucus to remain together in the debt ceiling struggle. However, he is also aware that certain Republican lawmakers would oppose any compromise measure since they referred to the legislation they approved as the floor rather than the ceiling.

The so-called Hastert rule, which states that only legislation with support from the majority shall be heard, has been followed by the speaker. He can afford to lose 110 members because Republicans hold 222 votes.

On Tuesday, Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, reaffirmed the need for a debt ceiling agreement to be one that “Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate will be able to vote on and agree on.”

Rank-and-file Democrats admit that they will face intense political pressure to approve any agreement advocated by Biden, should they fail to protect the economy and their own party’s president.

Democrats would vote for anything that has Joe Biden’s name on it, according to a House Democrat who requested anonymity to speak about the members’ personal political calculations.

However, Democrats planning for the rush to reach a final agreement before the June 1 debt limit deadline expect that McCarthy might lose a significant portion of his conservative wing, leaving it up to Democrats to provide between 50 and 100 votes of their own.

The upper-bound forecast of 100 Democrats was deemed a credible number by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a former longtime Democratic whip, but he stressed that Jeffries must be included in the deal.

They will require our support, he added. “I think we’ll pass it if Jeffries and Biden come to an agreement,” Biden said.

The new trio of House Democratic leaders would face an important early test in trying to broker a contentious debt accord. Five months into his job as the conference’s leader, Jeffries has already heard a variety of complaints from his members about the course of the discussions and potential compromises the White House may require them to approve.

On Monday, Jeffries hinted at some Democratic concerns about the possibility of a deal involving budget cutbacks, calling the White House’s proposed spending freeze “an inherently reasonable position” but one that “many in our party might even be uncomfortable with.”

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) refused to answer the question of whether she could deliver the votes for a Biden-approved compromise, stating simply, “We are going to do everything that we can to make sure the American people understand the lose-lose proposition that Republicans have forced them into.”

A bipartisan plan is often initially presented to Democratic moderates who are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Blue Dog Coalition, and the pro-business New Democrat Coalition. Democrats would have to go more into their progressive side, whose members already reject numerous important ideas being discussed, though, the more votes they needed to win.

One of the most conservative Democrats in the House, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, stated, “The voters gave us a divided Congress, divided control.” When there is a bipartisan consensus, it usually implies that the most extreme members of both caucuses are opposed to it. That is just how things are.

According to those acquainted with the situation, White House officials have mostly dismissed progressive criticism of their negotiation tactics because they secretly think that any compromise’s conditions would be much better than what the left fears. But recently, officials have made pains to reassure legislators that they are not taking votes for granted. For example, early this week, they briefed Senate Democrats on the terms of the discussion and maintained regular contact with influential House members, especially progressives.

Jayapal stated that the addition of job restrictions, permitting reform, and expenditure cutbacks, all of which are being considered, are vehemently opposed by her Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is made up of 101 House Democrats.

“At the end of the day, we will make our own decisions about what deal is presented, but there will be a huge backlash,” Jayapal said. “Even if it’s a bad deal that could pass” the House.

Asserted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). She remarked that the introduction of spending limits and employment requirements would be an issue. She said that the reaction “would be significant.”

The Congressional Black Caucus, a group of 56 House members led by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), also discussed its opposition to work requirements with White House negotiators over the weekend. In an interview, he claimed that he felt satisfied since “they heard us very clearly.”

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