Biden welcomes Democrats to White House as debt ceiling standoff looms

The impasse over the national debt ceiling was a prime example of how Congress’ shift in power could shape the rest of Biden’s term, as Republican lawmakers push for spending cuts before agreeing to demands Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.

At the start of the meeting, Biden said, “I have no intention of letting Republicans destroy our economy, or anyone around this table.” He should meet the Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy to discuss the impasse, although White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday she had no update on when.

Later, Schumer said the White House and Democratic leaders were on the “same page” regarding the debt ceiling. White House officials have continued to stress that Congress must pass a net increase in the limit, noting that lawmakers raised the debt ceiling three times under former President Donald Trump without requiring spending cuts.

“One of the things we want to do on the debt ceiling is say to Republicans, show us your plan,” Schumer said. “Do they want to cut Social Security? Do they want to cut medicare? Do they want to cut veterans benefits? Do they want to remove the font? Do they want to cut food for children in need? What’s your plan? We don’t know if they can even put one together.

Jeffries described the meeting as “wonderful,” adding that the group discussed jobs, infrastructure and administration accomplishments. Schumer also said the group agreed to look into the implementation of the bills they passed.

“One of the things that we’re going to be working on together, the President, the House, the Senate, is to make sure that the implementation of all the good things that we’ve done over the past two years quickly gets to the people, in a real way, and reaching the right people — America’s working families,” Schumer said.

Schumer and Jeffries were joined by House Democratic Whip Catherine ClarkSenate Majority Whip Dick Durbinsen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-California)

Democratic leaders retreated to the White House without asking questions about the president’s handling of classified documents, a scenario that dominated the new year for Biden.

The White House also welcomed new members of Congress on Tuesday evening for a reception in the East Room.

Olivia Olander contributed to this report.


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