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210 Dems endorse plan to sidestep House’s constitutional authority over debt limit, hand power to Biden

 May 20, 2023

House Democrats have joined together in a plan to address a debt ceiling increase that bypasses the bill passed under the leadership of GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20).

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY—08) collected names in an effort to lead a discharge petition, a move to force a vote on legislation even if the majority party objects.

The Details

"As of Thursday afternoon, 210 House Democrats had signed the discharge petition in the hopes of forcing a vote on a debt ceiling increase. The three Democrats who have not yet put their names to it are Reps. Mary Peltola of Alaska, Ed Case of Hawaii and Jared Golden of Maine," Fox News reported.

"Republicans have rejected the idea of a clean debt ceiling increase without preconditions. They passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would lift the borrowing limit by $1.5 trillion while also rolling back key Biden administration initiatives and cutting the federal government’s discretionary levels back to what they were in 2022," it added.

The Status

"At least five GOP members would need to switch sides to endorse the last ditch effort to raise the debt limit," the National Review noted.

"House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denounced the tactic as a 'political game' by Democrats to undermine the GOP majority, the New York Times reported," according to the outlet.

Will it Work?

"But an 11th-hour agreement that narrowly averts default but frays nerves, sinks stocks and pushes up interest rates could still do some damage, as did similar standoffs in 2011 and 2013, and even push a frail economy into recession. That’s far more likely than a breach of the debt limit that triggers financial calamity," USA Today reported about the development.

“The economy is already very fragile and on the precipice of recession,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told the outlet.

In addition to Jeffries' effort, some Democrats are calling for the use of the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default.

"A group of 11 Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sent Biden a letter on Thursday urging him to 'prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment' to raise the debt ceiling," Axios reported.

"We cannot reach a budget agreement that increases the suffering of millions of Americans," they wrote, arguing that it is "seemingly impossible to enact a bipartisan budget deal at this time."

Other Democrats, such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) are considering similar efforts as the clock ticks toward the June 1 deadline when the nation is expected to hit its debt ceiling.

The House continues its multiple efforts by both parties as the president seems completely absent despite the enormous consequences that could a government shutdown if an agreement is not found in time.