WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden says he and congressional leaders agree, they will not let the country default.
“Every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills,” Biden said.
But time is running out to avoid the debt limit’s June 1 deadline.
“We still have a lot more work to do between now and the day we bring the legislation to the floor,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
A key sticking point is the demand from Republicans to add work requirements for some safety net programs. President Biden says he’s not open to major additions.
“Not anything of consequence,” Biden said.
Republicans laughed at Biden’s statement, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pointed out that “this is the senator who voted for work requirements.”
McCarthy and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urge the president to work with the GOP.
“Let’s sit down in a sensible, responsible way,” McCarthy said.
“Because it took the president three months to start dealing in reality, we now have a time problem,” McConnell said.
While those negotiations proceed, House Democrats such as Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) are attempting to use something called a discharge petition, to go around Speaker McCarthy and bring raising the debt ceiling up for a direct vote.
“A number of us feel that we need to at least have another option available because the X date is fast approaching,” Courtney said.
That petition won’t be successful unless at least five Republicans join all Democrats. Because that’s unlikely, other lawmakers say the only path forward is a sensible bipartisan bill.