Biden must demand that Kevin McCarthy 'remove the threat' of debt default: former Obama adviser

Biden must demand that Kevin McCarthy 'remove the threat' of debt default: former Obama adviser
Image via Creative Commons.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich are among the many economic voices who have been warning that if the United States defaults on its debt obligations, the results will be disastrous. Yellen has implored President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) to work something out before it's too late.

But budget talks are not going well. House Republicans have passed a budget that calls for severe cuts, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has said that it's "dead on arrival" in the U.S. Senate.

In an op-ed/essay published by the New York Times on May 8, Daniel Pfeiffer — a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama — praises the way Biden has handled budget talks.

READ MORE: 'Confounding and stunning': House Democrat nails Republican 'hypocrisy' over the debt ceiling

"When President Biden meets with congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday," Pfeiffer argues, "he will most likely reiterate his position that Congress should pass a bill lifting the debt ceiling without negotiations or conditions….

Mr. Biden's strategy is undoubtedly risky. But from the perspective of someone who had a front-row seat inside the White House to the last two debt-limit standoffs between a Democratic president and a Republican House, Mr. Biden's refusal to negotiate on the debt ceiling is the best strategy."

Pfeiffer adds that Biden "should negotiate with Mr. McCarthy over the budget and other fiscal matters" but demand that the House speaker "remove the threat of imminent default."

The former Obama White House adviser notes that Obama, in the early 2010s, faced the same challenge that Biden faces now: the fear of a debt default and House Republicans demanding harsh budget cuts.

READ MORE: Dem lawmakers roll out plan to circumvent McCarthy on the debt ceiling

"The 2023 debt ceiling crisis seems much more dangerous the ones President Obama dealt with when I worked in the West Wing," Pfeiffer warns. "A lot is going to happen in the next few weeks, but if Democrats want to avoid default and once again save the nation from radical Republicans, their best bet is sticking with President Biden and calling the Republicans' bluff."

READ MORE:The debt ceiling and the dangers of an incompetent right

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