Biden Steps Up Pressure on Republicans to Raise Debt Ceiling: “US Pays Its Bills”

“The United States pays its bills. It’s who we are, it’s who we’ve been, it’s who we’re going to continue to be, God willing,” Biden said.

Biden noted if there was a flaw, it would be the first time in the country’s history. He stressed that there would be catastrophic consequences and echoed comments he made on Monday, calling the Republican position “hypocritical”, “dangerous and a little shameful”.

“My Republican friends need to stop playing Russian roulette with the American economy. If they don’t want to do the job, just walk away. We’ll take the heat. We will. We will. Let the Democrats vote to raise the debt ceiling without obstruction or any other delay, ”Biden said.

Biden said Republicans are “wavering here” and threatening to undermine America’s position in the world with a “cynical and destructive partisan ploy, just for politics.”

“It’s a meteor that’s going to crash into our economy. We should all want to stop it, stop it immediately. It shouldn’t be partisan,” Biden said.

The president said Americans’ wallets would be directly affected by a default. He noted that Social Security benefits, military salaries and veterans’ benefits, along with many other financial aid programs, would cease.

“Failure to raise the debt ceiling will jeopardize the safety of the US Treasury securities, threaten the reserve status of the dollar as the global currency the world relies on, downgrade the credit rating of the United States and result in higher interest rates for families. talk about mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, ”Biden said.

The President meets with key banking, finance and other industry leaders at the White House on Wednesday as he intensifies the campaign of public pressure to raise the country’s debt limit in a bipartisan fashion as Republicans continue to block efforts to do so.

Democrats are able to raise the debt ceiling on their own without Republican votes, but would have to use the lengthy reconciliation process to do so. Democratic House and Senate leaders have said they are unwilling to use this process and instead seek Republicans to cooperate to pay the country’s bills.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was in attendance on Wednesday, said last month the country would run out of cash to pay its bills on October 18, leaving the United States in default for the first time in its history.

Yellen said on Wednesday that the timing “demands immediate attention” and said there would be a “catastrophic result” without congressional action.

“A default will undermine the full confidence and credit of the United States. Our country would likely face a financial crisis, causing interest rates to rise rapidly and restricting access to credit. We would likely experience a recession. Millions of jobs would be lost, and the pain would last well beyond the resolution of the crisis, ”Yellen said.

On Tuesday, Biden said it was a “real possibility” that Senate Democrats would allow a one-time waiver of Senate filibuster rules to settle the debt ceiling, but he is not. not clear whether Democrats would have enough votes in their own party for the rule change. .
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Meeting with business leaders and CEOs from major financial institutions and other industries at the White House on Wednesday afternoon will be another opportunity for Biden to make his point on the debt ceiling as the officials have warned of the dire economic consequences of not raising the country’s debt ceiling. .

The meeting will include executives from major banks, such as Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Also in attendance will be leaders from the housing, business, technology and defense sectors, along with AARP CEO – Jo Ann Jenkins – whose organization represents millions of Americans whose retirement benefits Social Security and Medicare would be threatened if there was a default, the official noted. Some of the leaders are expected to attend virtually.

The full guest list includes Dimon; Moynihan; Jenkins, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi; Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon; Charlie Opser, president of the National Association of Realtors; Adena Friedman, President and CEO of Nasqaq; Punit Renjen, Global CEO of Deloitte; and Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel.

Yellen, Senior White House Advisor Cedric Richmond and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will also be in attendance.

“These leaders represent some of America’s best-known companies and industries, and they understand firsthand that a default would be economically devastating – risking millions of jobs and plunging our country into recession, and causing lasting harm. to America’s economic strength by threatening the dollar’s status as the currency the world relies on and lowering the credit rating of the United States, ”said a White House official.

Earlier this week, Biden told reporters he couldn’t guarantee the debt ceiling would be raised.

“No, I can’t – it depends on Mitch McConnell.… I can’t believe that would be the end result, because the consequences are so dire. I don’t believe it, but can I guarantee it? , I would, but I can’t, ”Biden said.