House Republicans are planning to take the economy hostage before they win a majority, but they face strong opposition from the White House.
The Washington Post reported on the White House strategy:
Klein said the White House’s plan, according to lawmakers, is straightforward: Refuse to entertain any concessions, and launch a barrage of attacks highlighting the GOP position, forcing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to relent.
“This debate is simple: We want to do the responsible thing, and they want to take the entire American economy hostage to cut Social Security and Medicare,” the congressman said on condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations. Klein told lawmakers that the fight could produce substantial political gains for the Democratic Party. “The point he was making was clear: You can’t negotiate with people who take hostages.”
Post reporter Jeff Stein added on Twitter:
So that brings us back to: publicly bashing the GOP relentlessly for threatening to blow up the US economy to cut popular programs, Dem pollsters think they’ll win.
(Some conservatives I’ve talked to say the GOP is already feeling the heat here) pic.twitter.com/V5HqHMtPbk
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) January 21, 2023
Biden learned from the 2011 debt ceiling crisis caused by House Republicans that he could not negotiate on the debt ceiling as vice president. In other words, the president cannot set a precedent that he will negotiate with political terrorists, or the result will be an endless series of Republican-created threats to the economy.
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It’s easy for House Republicans to stand together months before the debt ceiling becomes a reality, but when people aren’t getting their Social Security checks, government offices are closed or workers aren’t being paid, Republicans are likely to break quickly.
The unity of the Speaker of the House is only as strong as his caucus, and Kevin McCarthy’s caucus is fractured and will collapse as soon as the pressure gets too intense. Republicans are already feeling the heat, as they have no strategy beyond demanding negotiations and hoping Biden says yes.
Jason is the managing editor. He is a member of the White House Press Pool and a Congressional Correspondent for PoliticoUSA. Jason holds a Masters in Political Science. Her graduate work focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association