Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Thursday that there’s no daylight between himself and President Biden on the question of standing firm against negotiating with House Republicans on raising the debt limit until they manage to pass a package of cuts or fiscal reforms.
Schumer said Biden and White House staff assured him the president is not looking to cut a debt limit deal with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) if House Republicans can’t prove they have the votes to pass spending cuts through their narrowly divided chamber.
“I’ve spoken to the president both before and his staff after the meeting. He had the same position — [House Democratic Leader] Hakeem Jeffries [N.Y.], Chuck Schumer, the House Democratic caucus, the Senate Democratic caucus and the president have the exact same position: We should pass the debt ceiling clean. That’s where we’re at,” Schumer said.
His comments contradicted McCarthy’s optimistic prediction Wednesday that he would be able to strike a deficit reduction deal with Biden in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
“I think there is an opportunity here to come to an agreement on both sides,” McCarthy told reporters after meeting with Biden at the White House.
McCarthy promised House conservatives that he would not support legislation to raise the debt limit without major spending cuts or fiscal reforms attached but he has remained vague about exactly what cuts he favors.
Schumer is betting that McCarthy doesn’t have enough Republican votes to pass a fiscal reform package of any size given his small five-seat majority.
“We believe the House cannot pass a debt ceiling bill the way they’re talking about. That if it is very minor cuts, the MAGA Republicans will rebel. If it is major cuts, the more mainstream Republicans rebel. That’s why we’re saying, ‘Show us your plan.’ Because I don’t think they can get one together,” he said.
“That’s why I think Speaker McCarthy says, ‘Let’s have discussions,’ but isn’t laying out a plan,” he said.