WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden escalates his campaign to get Congress to lift the national debt ceiling, invites business leaders to the White House on Wednesday and warns in a new report that failure to extend government borrowing could spark a global financial crisis .
His moves come amid talks that Democrats might attempt to change Senate filibuster rules to bypass the Republican opposition. But Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V., on Wednesday reiterated his opposition to such a change and likely took it off the table for the Democrats.
Biden will see a number of CEOs – including the heads of big banks like Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America – to underscore the impact of the government running out of money to pay its bills.
Ahead of the meeting, the White House warned that an international financial crisis could arise that the United States may not be able to handle if the credit limit is not extended.
“A default would send shock waves through global financial markets and likely cause credit markets to freeze worldwide and stock markets to collapse,” the White House economic adviser said in a new report. “Employers around the world should probably start laying off workers.”
The recession that could be triggered could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis as many nations are still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said. It was first obtained from the New York Times.
Congress has only days to act before the October 18 deadline when the Treasury Department warned it would quickly run out of funds to meet the country’s already accrued debt.
The Senate, meanwhile, is due to vote on Wednesday whether to pass a bill suspending the debt ceiling, but Republicans are expected to block again. To circumvent the GOP stalemate, Biden said in spontaneous comments on Tuesday that the Democrats are considering changing Senate rules.
“It’s a real possibility,” Biden told reporters outside the White House.
But Manchin, who has been resisting pressure from liberal activists for months to change the filibuster so the Democrats can promote laws on other issues such as the right to vote, has remained unmoved.
“I think I made myself very clear,” Manchin told reporters. “Nothing changes.” He pleaded with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to work together to resolve the impasse.
The abolition of the filibuster rule would lower the typical threshold of 60 votes for transition to 50. In the 50-50 split Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie and allow Democrats to overtake Republicans. But to change the rules successfully, all Democratic senators would have to be on board.
The issue was raised during a private lunchtime Senate Democratic session on Tuesday when Senators grew increasingly angry at Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a simple vote on the debt ceiling. Instead, McConnell is forcing the Democrats into what they consider to be a laborious process that will take days, if not weeks, to consume their separate agenda.
At his weekly press conference, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., neither welcomed nor rejected the idea of changing the filibuster for that one particular issue.
Instead, Schumer simply reiterated what he, Biden, and others had said – that Republicans should “get out of the way” and allow Democrats to pass the debt measure already approved and sent by the House of Representatives. He said the burden was on McConnell’s shoulders.
McConnell wants to force the Democrats to use his favored process, which gives Republicans enough time to remind voters of the unpopular vote. He tried to portray the Democrats as thugs but insisted that they play by his rules.
“These are the leadership qualities of people who spend two and a half months doing nothing and then complain about their lack of time,” McConnell said in the Senate on Wednesday.
The debt ceiling hike, which was once a routine affair, has become politically treasonable over the past decade or more, particularly by Republicans to rail against government spending and the soaring debt burden, which now stands at $ 28 trillion.
Both parties contributed to the debt, and the nation has been in deficit for most of the decades.
The filibuster has been up for debate year-round as Biden and his allies consider ways to bypass GOP opposition to much of its agenda.
Biden has not endorsed previous calls to end the filibuster on other issues – namely, voting changes. But Tuesday’s comments could signal a new phase.
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