House Majority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York expressed hope that a bipartisan resolution to prevent defaults could be found in a letter addressed to caucus members on Wednesday. However, with the deadline of June 1st fast approaching and the urgency of the situation, he stressed the importance of pursuing all legislative options in case of no agreement.
To this end, Democrats filed a discharge petition early on Wednesday, which would allow them to force a vote on raising the debt ceiling, despite opposition from Chairman Kevin McCarthy of California. However, in order to succeed, Democrats require the support of all their party members and at least five Republicans – an uphill task considering that Republicans stand in solidarity with the Speaker during negotiations with the White House.
Democratic concerns are growing in both houses of Congress about what concessions a final deal between President Biden and House Republicans might entail. Democrats are particularly wary of new labor requirements for federal aid programs.
On the same day, the Congressional Black Caucus voiced strong opposition to Republican-backed proposals to tighten labor requirements for certain programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Medicaid. They stated that this move would widen racial and gender disparities and result in a negative impact on mortgage rates and jobs, which would undermine the strong economic recovery that has helped to reduce black unemployment levels to an all-time low.
Mike Lillis of The Hill provides more detailed coverage of this issue.