House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) said on Sunday that President Joe Biden “doesn’t have to negotiate” over the debt ceiling because “Republicans in the House, led by Kevin McCarthy, have passed the solution.”
Emmer’s remarks on CNN’s “State of the Union” are straight out of the GOP playbook and kick us into a new week in which Republicans will insist that the debt ceiling bill they narrowly passed last week is a good faith effort even though the contents of the bill — which is stuffed with obvious non-starters for Democrats — face nearly impossible odds with Senate Democrats and the President.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on Monday that Senate committees will hold hearings on the House Republicans’ debt limit bill and spending cuts they passed.
“The Senate will show the public what this bill truly is. Beginning this week, our Committees will begin to hold hearings and expose the true impact of this reckless legislation on everyday Americans. On Thursday, the Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the Default on America Act,” Schumer wrote in a Dear Colleague letter.
The move to hold hearings is not an attempt by Senate Democrats to move the bill forward, but instead to explain why the proposed cuts are major non-starters for the party.
Anchor Dana Bash pressed Emmer on his framing of the bill, pushing back on the idea that the bill House Republicans barely convinced their caucus to get behind is a legitimate and bipartisan way to move forward.
“You know [the bill] is dead on arrival in the Senate. It just is,” Bash told Emmer. “And you know that there’s no way the President is going to accept what you just put out there.”
“To say that it’s dead on arrival in the Senate, when you’ve got even Joe Manchin suggesting support for this type of approach, I think that’s not exactly accurate,” Emmer responded. “If you don’t like something in it, if you have ideas of your own, our speaker is more than willing, I’m sure, to listen to those.”
Emmer is playing the political game Republicans committed to when they announced they will hold the debt ceiling hostage until they get the specific and brutal spending cuts they want. And now that they have passed their prop of a bill they’re using that to claim that Republicans — the only party contemplating letting the U.S. economy collapse, likely provoking a global crisis — are doing their job while Democrats sit on their hands and refuse to negotiate.
Bash asked Emmer if he could guarantee that the U.S. government will not default on its debts.
“I can,” Emmer said — quickly adding the certified GOP disclaimer on it. “Assuming that our President and the Schumer Senate recognize the gravity of the problem.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for his part, appears eager to sit this fight out.
“The President knows how to do this…. Until he and the Speaker of the House reach an agreement, we’ll be at a standoff,” McConnell told reporters last week. “We have divided government. The president and the Speaker need to come together and solve the problem.”