But Biden’s remark indicated that the momentum for the act is picking up. It came as the president was returning from his sales pitch on infrastructure and welfare spending plans in Michigan and the White House was increasingly trying to shame Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for the debt ceiling. On Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to meet with business leaders at an event on the subject.
“Any scenario is possible to set the debt ceiling now,” one person familiar with discussions under the democratic leadership told POLITICO. “Everything is on the table. Every option.”
Republicans have twice foiled efforts to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a historic default and are on the verge of doing it again in the Senate on Wednesday when another bill to raise the debt ceiling is examined. After voting three times to raise or suspend the debt ceiling under former President Donald Trump, McConnell refuses to provide Republican votes to resolve the looming default in order to inflict political pain on Democrats.
Failure to comply with the debt limit, a legally mandated move that has been treated as routine at various times, would erode the country’s creditworthiness, raise interest rates and impact social security controls. But for months, McConnell has been putting pressure on the Democrats to meet the debt ceiling themselves through the complex budget process known as reconciliation. It’s a move that Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have long resisted because it would consume precious Senate session time – but still a filibuster-proof way to get around the problem.
While Democrats closely associated with the Biden government have urged them to use whatever avenues available, White House officials had repeatedly said that Biden continued to oppose the creation of filibuster carve-outs, otherwise known as “nuclear ones.” Option, “refuses to address the debt ceiling or other legislative deadlocks.
“The debt limit must be raised. It would be best to do this bipartisan, but if that is not possible then the Democrats should figure out which way works for them, ”said Jason Furman, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for former President Barack Obama. “Economically, the outcome is the same whether it is the nuclear option, the reconciliation or otherwise.”
Biden’s indulgence on this issue could have far-reaching implications for his broader agenda, provided he persuades Manchin and others to join him. There is a long backlog of liberal priorities that have been blocked by Republicans – from gun control to immigration to voting. If the Democrats create a filibuster for the debt ceiling, it could encourage progressives to argue that exceptions should be made for other Congressional matters as well.
“Perhaps corporate lobbyists can urge Senator Manchin to change his mind if the rest of us can’t,” said Faiz Shakir, a Democratic strategist who led Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, playing off the pressure on lawmakers the business of the world.
Less than two weeks before the debt limit is exceeded, however, the party’s activists are skeptical that the senators will finally lift the filibuster rules at this point. However, Biden’s comments coincide with the sentiment of most Democratic Senators, calling Republicans a bluff and forcing them to vote to suspend the debt ceiling or take the next logical step that a growing number of them see.
“The logic of McConnell’s reasoning is essentially telling Democratic senators to get rid of the filibuster,” added Shakir.