WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden made his case Monday morning on the importance of raising the debt ceiling as political parties dig in on a dispute over how to raise the government’s borrowing cap.
“Raising the debt limit comes down to paying what we already owe,” Biden said. “The United States is a nation that pays its bills and always has.”
Raising the debt limit “is usually a bipartisan undertaking, and it should be. That is what is not happening today,” Biden said.
“Democrats will meet our responsibility and obligation in this country” without expecting outright help from Republicans, Biden said. “Just get out of the way and let us pass it.”
Democrats and Republicans are in a standoff over how to move forward.
Republicans are insisting that Democrats go it alone. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dug in Monday with his own letter to Biden.
“We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well,” McConnell said.
Democrats say that extending the debt limit has traditionally been a bipartisan effort and that the debt cap, now at $28.4 trillion, was built up under presidents from both parties.
“Defaulting on our debt would be a self-inflicted wound that would take our economy over a cliff,” Biden said.
Oct. 18, two weeks away, is the date, that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the government will exhaust its cash reserves, an event she says would likely trigger a financial crisis and economic recession.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned on Monday that lawmakers “do not have the luxury of waiting” to suspend the nation’s debt limit to allow more borrowing to pay off U.S. bills, aiming to pass crucial legislation before week’s end.
Biden signed legislation to avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3.
The work to keep the government open and running served as the backdrop during a chaotic time for Democrats as they struggled to get Biden’s top domestic priorities over the finish line, including a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill at risk of stalling in the House.
With their energy focused on Biden’s agenda, Democrats backed down from a showdown over the debt limit in the government funding bill, deciding to uncouple the borrowing ceiling at the insistence of Republicans.
Republicans say Democrats have the votes to raise the debt limit on their own, and Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is insisting they do so.
The U.S. has never defaulted on its debts in the modern era, and historically, both parties have voted to raise the limit. Democrats joined the Republican Senate majority in doing so three times during Donald Trump’s presidency. This time, Democrats wanted to take care of both priorities in one bill, but Senate Republicans blocked that effort Monday.
Raising or suspending the debt limit allows the federal government to pay obligations already incurred. It does not authorize new spending.
Biden will also travel to Michigan on Tuesday to speak to the American people on his vision: It’s time to tax big business and the wealthy and invest that money into child care, health care, education and tackling climate change — what he sees as some of the nation’s most pressing priorities.