The Democrats and the White House are stung by McCarthy’s unity with the GOP in the Senate.
On April 26, 2023, McCarthy got the House to pass the debt-ceiling increase Biden wanted but attached a list of things that the GOP wanted.
From the New York Post:
The package slows the growth of federal spending, rolls back student-loan forgiveness and money for thousands of new IRS agents, claws back unspent pandemic funds and adds work requirements for certain welfare and Medicaid benefits.
It’s far from everything Republicans wanted, but it’s also far from nothing — far enough that McCarthy has room to trade off parts of the bill and still get a deal with some real concessions.
What was even more unexpected was what McConnell did the next day.
McConnell got Romney and the rest of the RINOs to get behind McCarthy.
Before the bill passed McConnell said that Biden needs to work with McCarthy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that even if the House passes the proposed GOP debt ceiling bill, the chances of it clearing the Senate are “essentially zero,” adding that an agreement must be reached between Speaker McCarthy and Pres. Biden over the debt ceiling. pic.twitter.com/bs5gYJLaDg
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 26, 2023
The White House didn’t expect this.
But once it became clear that McCarthy lacked the influence to wrangle his conference, Biden’s team reasoned, Republicans would lose most of their leverage and eventually soften their demand for concessions. The White House had harbored doubts about the bill’s chances of success even after McCarthy announced plans for a vote, privately questioning whether he could win over the last handful of conservatives trying to push the bill further to the right.
Insiders also told Politico that they do not have an endgame.
The next day McConnell doubled down.
“President Biden does not get to stick his fingers in his ears and refuse to listen, talk or negotiate. And the American people know that. The White House needs to stop wasting time and start negotiating with the speaker of the House,” the Senate Minority Leader said.
“President Biden and his administration are literally on the clock to negotiate a debt ceiling solution with Speaker McCarthy and the Republican majority over in the House… his political advisers apparently think the White House position should be – listen to this – no talks and no reforms,” McConnell added.
McConnell continued, “This extreme position is not even holding up in their own party. Even Washington Democrats are breaking ranks from the administration’s position of no talks and no reforms.”
The White House was hoping to bypass McCarthy and negotiate with McConnell. They never thought the GOP would unite.
For weeks we heard demands from Biden and Schumer ordering McCarthy to show them a bill. Not only did the Speaker show them a bill, he passed one and got McConnell to play along.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is already whining like a toddler.
“What we got today was not a plan. It was a recycled pile of the same things he’s been saying for months, none of which has moved the ball forward an inch. He has not shown us a real plan,” Schumer said. “One of the few specifics Speaker McCarthy has presented is a terrible idea to kick the can down the road for just one year and undergo the same crisis again.”
REMINDER: Republicans have raised the debt limit — Biden and Schumer have not.pic.twitter.com/JLC8ddUahk
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 27, 2023
So what is the White House plan? Change the verbiage.
Biden, for months, has lambasted that he won’t negotiate on the debt, but since he’s lost the leverage, he’s changing the vocabulary.
Biden will not meet with McCarthy to discuss the debt ceiling he will only work with the Speaker of the House on the budget.
“I don’t think that it should be a debt ceiling negotiation, I think that it should be a budget negotiation,” said Robert Wolf, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, and former Obama-era adviser, admitting the verbiage change as threading the needle.