Siding with their House counterparts before the White House meeting over the federal debt ceiling during a months-long political deadlock, 43 Republicans in the U.S. Senate declared on Saturday that they reject extending the debt ceiling without meaningful spending and budget reforms.
In a letter to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Calif.), Senate Republicans led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) stated their support for spending cuts and structural budget reform as a starting point for negotiations on raising the debt ceiling.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and nearly all other Senate Republicans signed the letter.
In a statement released alongside the letter, Lee said it was now apparent that Senate Republicans would not rescue Biden and Schumer and that negotiations were necessary. Lee thanked his coworkers for helping him make this point as strongly as possible.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are set to meet to discuss the next steps in raising the federal debt ceiling. However, the White House has given the impression that the president would not be flexible.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden would not negotiate on May 2. She added that the president is open to having a separate debate about the spending and their desired changes to the budget.
Since January, Biden and McCarthy have been at odds on lifting the debt ceiling. The president has requested that Congress raise the debt ceiling without attaching any additional conditions.
McCarthy has clarified that raising the debt ceiling is off the table until the president agrees to cut spending.
On April 26, McCarthy stated that the House would not approve a “clean” debt ceiling increase.
On April 26, House Republicans unanimously approved their plan to address the debt ceiling impasse. Democrats have opposed the Limit, Save, and Grow Act because it would increase the federal borrowing cap by $1.5 trillion while enforcing severe cuts to government expenditure.
Last week, Schumer started making moves to push for a clean, two-year debt limit extension in the Senate. After the upcoming discussion at the White House, Schumer told reporters Democrats would decide whether to submit the for a vote.
The White House debt ceiling meeting is scheduled for May 9. In addition to Schumer and McConnell, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has been invited.
Without action from Congress to raise the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on May 1 that the United States might default on its financial commitments as early as June 1.
With the economy in free decline due to unsustainable fiscal policies, the group of Senate Republicans said in their most recent statement that Yellen’s letter underscored the necessity of raising the debt ceiling.
The House has taken a mature first step by bringing its ideas. The president must follow suit immediately.
On Sunday, the White House claimed that the Republican senators who signed the letter were holding hostage millions of American jobs, businesses, and retirement accounts.
The office of Senator Schumer was not immediately available for comment.