President Joe Biden returned to the White House Monday morning – walking the South Lawn hand-in-hand with First Lady Jill Biden – to kick off a week where he needs Congress to stretch the debt limit and continue deliberations on his two key pieces of legislation.
Biden mouthed to reporters he would talk to them later – as he’s slated to deliver remarks on the debt ceiling at 11:15 a.m.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to colleagues Monday morning telling them, ‘we must get a bill to the president’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period.’
President Joe Biden (right) and First Lady Jill Biden (left) arrive back at the White House Monday morning after spending the weekend in Wilmington, Delaware
Biden said he would speak to reporters later, as he’s slated to speak at 11:15 a.m. about the debt ceiling
The Bidens walked hand-in-hand across the South Lawn Monday morning as they arrived back from Wilmington, Delaware
After averting a government shutdown last week, lawmakers next important deadline is October 18, which will be when the U.S. will no longer be able to pay its bills if Congress doesn’t lift the debt ceiling.
‘We do not have the luxury of waiting until October 18th, as it is our responsibility to re-assure the world that the United States meets our obligations in a timely fashion and that the full faith and credit of the United States should never be in question,’ Schumer said.
The House voted Wednesday 219-212 to suspend the debt ceiling until December 2022, after next year’s midterm elections.
In the Senate, however, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t help Democrats with the ceiling.
He reiterated that point in a Monday morning letter to Biden.
‘Republicans will not build Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer a shortcut around procedural hurdles they can clear on their own so they have a more convenient path to jam us with a partisan taxing and spending spree,’ McConnell said.
McConnell blocked several Democratic attempts of using unanimous consent to lift the debt ceiling last week.
McConnell is holding the debt ceiling hostage to protest the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill Biden and progressive Democrats want to see passed.
‘Bipartisanship is not a light switch that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer may flip on to borrow money and flip off to spend it. 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,’ McConnell said in the letter.
Democrats plan to pass the $3.5 trillion bill using reconciliation – which means they can cut out Republicans entirely.
However, the Democrats aren’t all on the same page about the bill.
That bill contains a number of liberal goodies including climate change provisions, universal pre-K, child care assistance, tuition-free community college, paid medical and family leave, the extension of the child tax credit and enhanced Medicare coverage.
Moderate Democrats including Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have complained that the pricetag is too high.
Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders conceded on Sunday that the $3.5 trillion price will likely have to go down.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told colleagues in a Monday morning email, ‘We must get a bill to the president’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period’
‘The $3.5 trillion should be a minimum, but I accept that there’s gonna have to be give and take,’ the progressive from Vermont said on ABC’s This Week.
On Thursday, a planned House vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill was called off, with progressives threatening to tank the bill if moderate Democrats wouldn’t get on board the larger spending package.
On Friday, Biden met with Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Sanders wouldn’t confirm that the number Biden floated to lawmakers during his Friday meeting on Capitol Hill was $2 trillion.
‘Well, first of all, I’m not sure that that’s accurate, as you know there’s a lot of gossip that goes on,’ Sanders said.
Schumer cited what Biden had told lawmakers in his Monday morning note.
‘He encouraged them to stick together, compromise, and find the sweet spot that will allow us to complete our work,’ Schumer said of the president’s message. ‘I agree with his sentiment whole-heartedly – we can get this done, together, if we put aside our differences and find the common ground within our party.’
‘It will require sacrifice. Not every member will get everything he or she wanted. But at the end of the day, we will pass legislation that will dramatically improve the lives of the American people,’ Schumer said.