Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D) met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (California) on Wednesday to urge the House Republican leader to negotiate with President Biden on legislation to raise the debt ceiling, a sign the senator from West Virginia could play a pivotal role in bipartisan talks.
Manchin’s meeting with McCarthy comes at a time when other Democrats, including Democratic Senate Whip Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Representative Brendan Boyle (Pennsylvania), the senior member of the House Budget Committee, say the Democrats shouldn’t negotiate on the debt limit.
A source familiar with the meeting said Manchin encouraged McCarthy to negotiate with Biden to find a way forward that would avoid harming the American people.
The source described the interaction as “a good meeting” and said “no commitments” were made.
Manchin on Sunday called on the White House to negotiate with House Republicans on raising the debt ceiling, arguing it would be a “mistake” to expect Congress to authorize a new federal borrowing authority. without bipartisan talks.
“We have to negotiate. This is the democracy we have. We have a two-party system, if you will, and we should be able to talk and find out what our differences are,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Manchin said he “respectfully” disagrees with Durbin and other Democrats who urge their party leaders not to negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling, arguing that Congress has already approved the expenses that would be covered by a new borrowing authority.
“If you’ve been here for more than 15 minutes, you know what’s going to happen. We’re going to wobble from one deadline to the next,” Durbin told reporters on Monday, predicting that a prolonged stalemate over the debt limit will disrupt financial markets. “It will devastate the credibility of our economy, which is unacceptable.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) said Wednesday that House Republicans had “immediately resorted to tightrope and hostage-taking” and said they should put their spending cut proposals to a vote in the House before asking Democrats to make concessions.
“If you want to talk about deep cuts, then you have an obligation, an obligation to show the American people precisely what kind of cuts [you] we’re talking about,” Schumer said on the floor.