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Biden’s debt ceiling gambit: Stay calm and carry on

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As the nation barrels toward fiscal catastrophe, President Joe Biden is intent, for now, to keep his powder dry.

Senate Republicans are rebuffing an effort by Democrats to lift the nation’s debt ceiling through a government funding bill that would require 60 votes. And they’re doing so while relying on the unusual argument that while members of the GOP wholeheartedly want to see the debt limit raised or suspended, they just don’t want to be the ones to do it.

That’s left Biden with few options: Plow forward with the plan and risk default, find an alternate route to raise the debt limit through reconciliation, or convince Republicans — either through badgering or enticing them — to get on board with Democrats.

So far, he’s settled on another approach: show no signs of panic.

Biden has largely deferred to Democratic leaders to drive the process on Capitol Hill, while the White House and administration officials avoid talk of fallback options and ramp up the pressure on Republicans to fold.

The administration is working behind the scenes to arrange phone calls between Treasury Department officials and recalcitrant Republicans, appealing to powerful business groups to issue stern warnings of their own and collaborating with progressives to amplify their messaging around the debt limit and implications for the broader economic recovery. They are also coordinating letters and statements from conservative-leaning organizations as well as state and local elected leaders and former government officials.

Biden himself has remained mostly mum on the matter, even though he played a central role in debt ceiling negotiations as vice president, working for a boss — Barack Obama — who eventually pledged never to negotiate over the debt ceiling again.........

© Politico

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