Government Connection

White House Begins Debt-Ceiling Push With Congress Briefings

On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the White House stepped up efforts to get Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling, holding a public-relations strategy meeting with Senate Democratic aides. National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti and Treasury counselor Ben Harris conveyed the message to Democrats that it’s the shared responsibility of Republicans to avoid a U.S. payment default -- reinforcing a narrative that Democrats have been reciting for weeks. The messaging push comes after 46 out of the 50 Senate Republicans wrote on Aug. 10 that they would not vote to increase the debt ceiling -- a sufficient number to block a bill doing so under normal Senate procedures. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that with Democrats pursuing a $3.5 trillion social-spending package this autumn, they cannot expect GOP cooperation on the debt. The White House told Senate aides Wednesday that it expects Republicans and Democrats to join together to raise the debt ceiling, according to the White House official. They distributed talking points highlighting that the debt ceiling was increased three times during the Trump administration, that the vote does not in itself authorize new spending and that 97% of the total debt occurred before President Joe Biden took office.

September 01, 2021

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