President Biden is already reaching out to moderate Republicans in the House to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, but if the far right doesn’t get the stalemate they crave, it could be the curtain call for Kevin McCarthy.
The White House is already working behind the scenes to bypass Speaker Kevin McCarthy, including sending its top advisers to meet with moderate Republicans — particularly those who won in districts President Joe Biden won in 2020 — hoping Democrats can count on these GOP lawmakers to cross the aisle and raise the debt ceiling.
“I think there’s a real opportunity for that,” said a senior House Republican. “Kevin would probably love it if that happened because it gets him out of — ‘It wasn’t me.'”
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With House Republicans holding just a four-seat majority, Biden could negotiate a debt ceiling with moderate Republicans in districts the president won in 2020. If Biden gets five moderates, House Democrats could use a relief motion to force a vote on raising the debt ceiling. If passed by the House of Representatives, McCarthy and the far right would be defeated and a crisis avoided.
The worst-case scenario for McCarthy is that the far right, not believing he wasn’t or that he couldn’t stop Biden from working around him, then files an eviction motion that ends his spokesmanship.
The White House doesn’t need to negotiate with McCarthy if they can bypass him.
The right has circled the debt ceiling as the moment of the big confrontation with Biden. If they don’t get the showdown and spending cuts they crave, the fringe of the GOP House caucus will be furious and McCarthy will likely be the one to pay the price.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House press pool and congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in political science. His thesis focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and professional memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association