Until recently, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell’s emergency hotline had been silent.
The Minority Leader encouraged President Biden on Monday to persuade his party to raise the debt limit, even without the GOP.
This is the very first move in what could be a lengthy back-and-forth. Amid the danger of a US bankruptcy rise, McConnell has cautioned for weeks that he will not provide support to raise the country’s debt ceiling; he restated his position in a new letter to Biden.
Biden Needs to Do His Job
In a letter obtained by Politico, McConnell urged Biden, “I humbly believe it is appropriate for you to directly engage with Democrats in Congress on this issue. Your congressional commanders must realize you wouldn’t want your government to stumble into a preventable disaster when they had approximately three months’ warning to do their jobs.”
Biden’s past resistance to debt rises is also mentioned in the letter, which was delivered to the White House on Monday. “The governing party had to take responsibility for a policy program that you opposed,” McConnell said. “Your point of view back then is our point of view now.”
My letter to President Biden this morning on congressional Democrats’ duty to handle the debt limit: pic.twitter.com/U3G9QMPJwY
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) October 4, 2021
Because of their long-standing connection and great trust, the president and Senate leader helped prevent budgetary disaster multiple times while Biden was vice president. Yet, as Congress prepares for a potentially disastrous confrontation over the debt limit, the two aren’t even talking to one another.
The message on Monday and Biden’s address on the debt ceiling later that day are their first official statements on the most dangerous deadline Congress will face this year. For ages, the officials boasted about their tight professional relationship.
When Biden ran for office, he portrayed himself as a statesman who could communicate with McConnell, who was notoriously difficult to persuade. Only a few months ago, McConnell stunned Washington by endorsing Biden’s infrastructure plan.
The “Good Working Relationship” Has Run Its Course
President Biden calls Republicans “wreckless and dangerous” for their opposition to raising the debt limit.
“We always pay what we owe.” pic.twitter.com/UFgpSy8mG9
— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) October 4, 2021
Now, at a key juncture, the two are really not attempting to negotiate. McConnell said to Biden, “this is not an explanation; it is just a grievance.” McConnell also stated he will not provide a “quick fix” for procedural impediments that Democrats can overcome on their own.
McConnell’s stance “has to stay in the administration’s craw,” said Sen. Chris Coons, a close Biden supporter. It’s something that has always been done. There have been dozens and dozens of instances of bipartisan cooperation in raising the debt ceiling.
After McConnell’s party defeated a proposal to raise the debt ceiling last week, the president is scheduled to deliver a talk on Monday morning about the need of doing so. However, the Kentucky Republican said he will not really take Biden’s lack of communication with him personally.