May 19, 2023

210 Democrats endorse plan to sidestep House GOP in debt limit fight

Nearly every House Democrat has endorsed an effort to make an end run around House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and bring a clean debt ceiling increase forward for a vote that doesn’t include spending cuts for the federal government.

At the direction of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Democrats began collecting signatures for a discharge petition on Wednesday morning. Discharge petitions can force a vote on legislation even if the majority party objects, but a majority of House lawmakers needs to sign it.

As of Thursday afternoon, 210 House Democrats had signed the discharge petition in the hopes of forcing a vote on a debt ceiling increase. The three Democrats who have not yet put their names to it are Reps. Mary Peltola of Alaska, Ed Case of Hawaii and Jared Golden of Maine.

Republicans have rejected the idea of a clean debt ceiling increase without preconditions. They passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would lift the borrowing limit by $1.5 trillion while also rolling back key Biden administration initiatives and cutting the federal government’s discretionary levels back to what they were in 2022.

Peltola’s office confirmed to Fox News Digital that she will sign the petition and pointed to a statement to explain that the delay was due to a family tragedy.

‘I continue to support the ongoing negotiations by all parties, and believe a discharge petition to bring a clean debt ceiling solution to the floor can provide a valuable backup option. I am currently grieving the loss of my mother, but I intend to sign the discharge petition as soon as I am able to return to D.C.,’ Peltola said.

Golden’s office referred Fox News Digital to an earlier report where the congressman criticized the discharge petition.

Case’s office has not responded to a request for comment.

A discharge petition requires a simple majority of 218 votes, but Democrats only have 213 seats. Republicans across the spectrum have thus far been united behind their call for spending cuts to pair with any debt limit hike.

Jeffries called on every Democrat to sign it in a letter to colleagues sent Wednesday morning, despite expressing some optimism about the prior day’s meeting with congressional leaders and the White House on the debt limit.

‘Emerging from the White House meeting, I am hopeful that a real pathway exists to find an acceptable, bipartisan resolution that prevents a default,’ Jeffries said. ‘However, given the impending June 1 deadline and urgency of the moment, it is important that all legislative options be pursued in the event that no agreement is reached.’

McCarthy dismissed the effort during a press conference later that afternoon.

‘I don’t think it’s going anywhere,’ McCarthy said, referencing the fact that nearly every Republican senator has voiced support for his stance.

‘So, is that even sensible? Is that even being productive? Is that even reasonable? Is that responsible? It seems to me that would be playing into a Biden default.’


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