A coalition of moderate House Democrats is offering a helping hand to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden in debt limit talks while urging them to work toward “good faith negotiations” as both leaders prepare to meet on Wednesday.
“With the deadline to increase the statutory debt limit only a few months away, we are glad to hear that conversations about raising the limit will soon begin. A default on our country’s debt would be catastrophic for our economy,” the group, dubbed the Blue Dog Coalition, wrote in the letter to McCarthy and Biden on Tuesday.
“As such, it is our hope that these conversations result in good faith negotiations that avoid the partisan standoffs of the past. Such political brinkmanship has proven to rattle markets, damage the economy, and hurt the American people,” they added.
The letter, which was first obtained by Politico, featured signatures from Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Sanford Bishop Jr. (Ga.), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).
The letter comes a day before Biden and McCarthy are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss the nation’s borrowing limit as both sides dig in their heels over how to address the country’s debt ceiling.
Earlier this month, the Treasury Department began implementing what it characterized as “extraordinary measures” to prevent the nation from default on its debt after it recently crossed the roughly $31.4 trillion threshold set by Congress over a year ago.
Republicans in both chambers have been adamant that any action to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, which allows the government to pay for programs it has already approved, be paired with fiscal reforms. Democrats, on the other hand, have asked for a clean bill to address the debt limit without conditions amid opposition to GOP proposals to significantly cut nondefense spending.
There are also divisions in the GOP over what areas should be targeted for potential cuts, as defense hawks have raised concerns over calls for military spending to be on the table in talks.
According to a memo that circulated on Tuesday, Biden is expected to ask McCarthy whether he will commit to avoiding default during the coming meeting. He also plans to press for a potential timeline of when House Republicans could release a budget, as questions swirl around the specifics regarding spending proposals sought by the party as part of debt limit negotiations.