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Recent History Shows Biden Will Win On Debt Limit

Last updated on July 18th, 2023 at 02:01 pm

Republicans are trying to go back to 2011 on the debt limit, but Democrats changed their tactics, and President Biden is in good shape to win in 2023.

Looking back Obama administration officials view their negotiations with Republicans on the debt limit to be a big mistake. As a member of the Obama administration, President Biden has never forgotten 2011 and more importantly, the lesser-discussed debt ceiling deadlines of Obama’s second term.

NBC News recapped what happened after 2011:

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After 2011, the Obama White House drew a hard line when the debt limit deadline came up again in early 2013. Then-White House spokesman Jay Carney said in January of that year: “Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default.”

House Republicans relented, attaching a debt limit extension to a symbolic measure calling for passing a budget.

Under that posture, Congress, under a GOP-led House, extended the debt limit three more times — in October 2013, February 2014 and November 2015 — either with a symbolic add-on or a bipartisan budget that both parties had agreed to. The threat of default was off the table.

Republicans got spending caps for two years, but then spending went back up. The GOP victory was a short-term mirage that evaporated once Democrats took a hard stand on not holding the debt limit hostage.

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President Biden came out of the gates with a firm no on debt limit negotiations, because that is the best course for the nation. Democrats negotiated in 2011 and saw the US credit downgraded for the first time and the economy damaged.

It is more likely than not that recent history will repeat itself. Speaker McCarthy’s majority is too small to withstand any division on the debt limit. Democrats seem to know that they have enough moderate votes to pass a debt limit hike in the House without McCarthy.
There will be performative theater from the Speaker, but at the end of the day, Biden will likely get his way on the debt limit.

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