Looking back on the first two years of Joe Biden’s presidency, Tim Kaine has one big regret about a largely successful stretch of Democratic rule: That his party didn’t try to raise the debt ceiling on its own last year.
The Virginia senator believes that if Democrats had tried to hike the debt limit before the House GOP swept into a majority, even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) might have gone along with it. But Biden’s party never moved on the issue. And six months later, Democrats are stuck doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t — negotiating on the debt ceiling with Republicans.
“If I could do one thing different,” Kaine lamented this week, it would have been a late-2022 debt hike. “And I was saying it at the time … ‘hey, we got the votes.’”
As Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden labor to overcome huge ideological disputes over spending and work requirements in order to strike a budget deal that might unlock a debt-limit increase, Democrats are bemoaning what might have been. Many progressives are at a loss over how the party ended up here, having slowly reversed a stance that they wouldn’t haggle with the GOP over the debt limit, after deciding not to even attempt a party-line debt hike last year. [Continue reading…]