As Democrats got to the mat with Republicans on the debt ceiling, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is insisting that his members unanimously get behind a vote to lift it. Only by maximizing the pressure on such legislation, Jeffries contends, will the measure get through before the June 1 date of default.
On Wednesday, the Democrats introduced a discharge petition, a procedural resolution, with the hope of forcing a vote on a debt limit hike no matter the Republicans’ objections.
“I am hopeful that a real pathway exists to find an acceptable, bipartisan resolution that prevents a default,” Jeffries stated in a letter to caucus members. “However, given the impending June 1
deadline and urgency of the moment, it is important that all legislative options be pursued in the event that no agreement is reached.”
It is still questionable where the caucus members stand on the petition, and Jeffries is calling on all 213 members to endorse it. Getting all aboard would include a number of moderate-budget hawks who have expressed opposition.
Another stumbling block, even with unanimity from the Democrats, is the need for at least five Republicans to join them on the petition. Time is running out and the Democrats hope that
market forces will assist them in getting the vote before the deadline, though at the moment such an outcome looks unlikely.
Given the urgency of the situation, President Biden has postponed his trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea, apparently caving into criticism about leaving at a time like this. Biden said he is hopeful that he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can broker a deal by the end of the week. Then the Speaker will have to convince that coterie of Republicans to put him in charge by on the historic 15 ballots.
After a discussion between Biden and congressional leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer said it was “a good and productive meeting. There were honest, real discussions about the differences that we have on a whole variety of issues, but it was respectful.”