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Members of the left-wing “Squad” have leveled a threat to President Joe Biden as reports surface he may be willing to negotiate with Republicans in the House over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
The progressives pledged not to support any debt ceiling bill they believe gives too much away to Republicans, the Washington Examiner reported.
Tuesday marks the final day that Biden and congressional leaders will be in Washington, D.C., at the same time to negotiate a deal before the United States potentially defaults on its debt — which could come as early as June 1.
At 3 p.m., Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Senate leaders are scheduled to convene a meeting to discuss the matter.
While Biden has expressed his firm stance on certain areas, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, as non-negotiable in the ongoing discussions, there are concerns among some of Congress’s most progressive politicians that Biden may be willing to compromise on key issues that hold significance for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the outlet reported.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) emphasized to Axios the significance of not yielding on certain issues like welfare work requirements and energy permitting reform. The policies are among the many that House Republicans aim to limit or reduce through the GOP’s Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023.
“We have made it clear … that if they give on these core Democratic values, there will be a huge backlash,” she said, adding that there will be “backlash at the polling booth” as far-left voters won’t bother to show up.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (R-N.Y.), meanwhile, said he’s not at all confident that the White House will protect far-left policy priorities.
“I’m very, very concerned,” Bowman said, according to the Examiner, adding that he is “leaning towards not optimistic in terms of what we’re going to give up.”
The outlet noted further:
Since the start, Democrats and progressive lawmakers have raised concerns that Republicans will use the debt ceiling as a bargaining tool to force Biden to roll back some of his more left-leaning policies. House Republicans have also called for border security to be part of the debt ceiling bill, an area where progressives typically slam Republicans for being anti-immigration.
The White House appears open to some provisions, such as rescinding unspent COVID-19 funds, implementing caps on spending, and some requirements on social safety programs. Biden told reporters on Sunday that while he “voted for tougher aid programs” in the past, Medicaid is a “different story,” and he’s waiting to hear the GOP’s exact proposal.
However, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said the discussions are made up of “destructive” methods and that progressives will not rally to Biden’s side if he agrees to sign anything other than a “clean” debt ceiling increase that doesn’t include spending cuts.
The administration can “expect pushback on nearly any significant concession,” Ocasio-Cortez noted, according to the outlet. “This is not an appropriate vehicle … I don’t think we should normalize such destructive tactics.”
“It’s profoundly destructive, and it also threatens to weaken the president,” Ocasio-Cortez predicted.
That said, a growing number of Americans are concerned about the debt ceiling though they are divided on how best to address it, with more favoring a Republican approach, which calls for curbing spending.
“The polls show neither Democratic President Joe Biden nor congressional Republicans hold a clear advantage in public opinion as they head into discussions on Tuesday to resolve a months-long standoff over the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit,” Reuters reported, adding:
Some 49% said Congress needs to quickly raise the debt ceiling without conditions to avert default, echoing Biden’s position. Some 68% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans took that view.
But 51% of Americans said the debt ceiling should not be raised without substantial spending cuts – the position held by Republicans who hold a majority in the House of Representatives. That view was held by 69% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats, the poll found.