The progressive Congresswoman was critical of possibility of Democratic concessions in the ongoing talks, and prefers a plan to get around the talks.
According to CNBC, McCarthy said Thursday that negotiators could “reach a deal to raise or suspend the debt ceiling in time to hold the first vote on it next week.”
“I see the path that we can come to an agreement,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol, per CNBC. “And I think we have a structure now and everybody’s working hard, and I mean, we’re working two or three times a day, then going back getting more numbers.”
Such a deal would need to pass by around June 1.
Any deal that gets made will face potential roadblocks. Some on McCarthy’s right flank might oppose a deal if they think the Speaker gave away too much. Meanwhile, there is some opposition among progressive Democrats to the very idea of the talks.
AOC Has Thoughts
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is part of the latter camp.
Per Insider, AOC said this week that she supports a discharge petition to pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase, which would require the votes of 218 members of the House. It’s expected that the petition will receive votes from all 213 House Democrats, although no Republicans have signed on.
“Here’s the deal: McCarthy has nowhere near the votes for a deal and therefore cannot negotiate debt ceiling,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter this week. “You need 218 votes. GOP has maybe ~150. They will need anywhere from 50-100 House Dems to pass anything. Dems have 213 votes for a clean bill & just need to pick up 5.”
McCarthy has said that House Republicans would block such a vote.
Over on the Senate side, some Democrats are supporting another gambit, to encourage President Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment in order to raise the debt limit without an act of Congress.
“We write to urgently request that you prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which clearly states: ‘the validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.’ Using this authority would allow the United States to continue to pay its bills on-time, without delay, preventing a global economic catastrophe,” a group of Democratic senators that includes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ed Markey (D-MA) wrote in a letter to the president.
Should Democrats go down that route — and there’s no indication that the White House plans to do so — it would almost certainly be challenged in court.
Another idea, which was floated during similar battles during the Obama presidency, is the “trillion dollar coin,” in which the Treasury would mint a coin of that value and use it to solve the debt crisis. However, it doesn’t appear that the Biden Administration is considering that either, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dismissing the coin idea as a “gimmick” and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also expressing opposition to the proposal.
Also this week, the candidate Ocasio-Cortez backed in the Democratic primary for Philadelphia mayor lost. Former City Councilwoman Helen Gym finished third in the race, which had five major candidates, two days after both Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared at a last-minute campaign rally for Gym.
Former City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker won the primary with about 33 percent of the vote, with former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart finishing second in the race. Parker is heavily favored in the November general election over another former City Councilman, Republican David Oh, in the city where Democrats enjoy a 7-to-1 registration advantage. Parker, if she wins, will be the 100th mayor of Philadelphia and the first woman to hold the office.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.