What do Republicans really want from the debt ceiling negotiations?

The White House has vowed not to budge until Congress acts, but that hasn't stopped some Republican lawmakers from tossing out a few demands of their own

the Republican elephant
(Image credit: Illustrated | Gettyimages)

Sometime this coming summer, the United States is expected to reach a point where it can no longer pay off its existing loans, having already met its borrowing limit, commonly known as the debt ceiling, in mid-January. With the countdown clock ticking toward a national — and potentially internationalfinancial crisis should the U.S. default on its loans, politicians in Washington have begun the process of negotiating a congressional measure to raise the country's borrowing limit, thereby averting an economic cataclysm. Sort of.

For as much as the various statements might hint at a negotiation between Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the truth is that no such bargaining has actually taken place. In part, that's due to the White House's adamant position that the risk of a debt ceiling breach is of such importance that it will not negotiate with Congress at all. As Biden administration Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a recent statement: "Like the president has said many times, raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos. Congress has always done it, and the president expects them to do their duty once again."

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.