President Joe Biden on Tuesday opened the door to a potential filibuster rule change that would allow Senate Democrats to raise the national debt limit with a simple majority, The New York Times reports.
“Oh, I think that’s a real possibility,” Biden told reporters.
Senate Democrats are racing the clock to raise the debt limit before the country defaults on its debt later this month. Republicans agree that the debt limit needs to be raised but have filibustered two attempts to increase it and demand Democrats do it themselves using budget reconciliation. But Senate Democrats say the budget process takes too long and is not a feasible option.
Senate Democrats met on Tuesday to discuss the potential of changing the filibuster rule for this one specific issue but have not agreed on a plan. It’s unclear if Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who oppose changing the filibuster but did not speak up at the meeting, would agree to go along.
Democrats have also pushed Republicans not to filibuster the legislation but Republican leaders say they can’t convince five to six rogue senators to allow Democrats to pass the bill.
Republicans push back:
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out any Republican votes to raise the debt limit.
“I respectfully submit that it is time for you to engage directly with congressional Democrats on this matter,” McConnell wrote in a letter to Biden on Monday. “Your lieutenants in Congress must understand that you do not want your unified Democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they have had nearly three months’ notice to do their job.”
Biden has warned that Republicans allowing the country to default would result in a global financial crisis.
“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” Biden said Monday. “A meteor is headed for our economy.”
Biden hopes banks ramp up pressure:
Biden on Wednesday called up the heads of the countries major bank for a White House meeting in hopes of pressuring Republicans to let up, according to The Washington Post.
The meeting is expected to include the heads of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Nasdaq, as well as other companies like Intel and groups like the AARP.
“These executives represent some of America’s best-known companies and industries, and they understand firsthand that a default would be economically devastating,” a White House official told the outlet. “The president will detail the Republican obstruction that has led us to this point, with the GOP refusing to do the right thing and fulfilling its bipartisan responsibility to address the debt limit.”