January 30, 2023

Democrats Debate Whether President Biden Should Negotiate with Speaker McCarthy on Debt Limit

House lawmakers and the White House continued to spar last week over whether to include Social Security and Medicare in negotiations over raising the debt limit. President Biden has steadfastly pledged not to cut the programs, insisting that the debt ceiling should be addressed “without conditions.”

Most Democrats are dead set against negotiating as President Biden signals he is prepared to meet with Speaker McCarthy (CA), arguing any talks will just be “gobbled up” by Republicans who will then ask for more.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY), for example, doesn’t want Democrats to negotiate with House Republicans until the House GOP shows it can actually pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

The debate comes as a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is preparing a plan to make a deal to change the debt ceiling from a fixed dollar amount to a percentage of national economic output, the Problem Solvers Caucus’s top Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), said on Sunday. Many seniors’ advocates see the deal as an opening to cut Social Security and Medicare and are therefore sharply against it.

“Seniors have lived up to their commitment by paying into Social Security and Medicare during their lifetime,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We expect the government to live up to its commitment to protect and enhance these programs for the American people.

“We must not allow those promises to be broken, and seniors to be held hostage by strong-arm, GOP debt ceiling tactics or back door approaches that lead to a similar outcome.”

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