Jared Golden, Democratic Rep. of Maine, has broken from his party and Joe Biden over the debt ceiling. He argues that Democrats must make a deal and compromise with Republicans on their demands for discretionary spending reductions.
Golden, a member in his third term of the Problem Solvers Caucus, called on Biden, who is a member, to recognize that House Republicans are legitimately entitled to demand cuts to spending. He also said that Biden made a mistake by failing to act with a debt ceiling measure before the House Republicans passed Limit, Save, Grow Act, a measure which was unanimously supported by Congressional Republicans.
Golden told Politico’s Playbook that “we should engage in this discussion rather than try to avoid it by requiring a clean raise of the debt ceiling.” Golden’s remarks represent a radical departure from Biden who has repeatedly called for an increase in the debt ceiling “without conditions and demands” and has refused to consider spending cuts. Also, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer has introduced legislation that would suspend the debt limit altogether.
“We know the Republicans won [the 2022] election. Golden wrote that they will use their House majority to control spending. Golden wrote that Democrats should welcome them “to the table for real solutions, which, I believe, means reducing expenditure — because this is the situation we’re in with a divided Government anyways (sic), and raising revenue to put toward that reduction.”
Golden’s remarks come at a time when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the U.S. may default on its debts as early as 1st June if Congress fails to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling. She and other experts think this would cause a recession. Golden’s comments are in contrast to Yellen and the Biden administration who have emphasized that only House speaker Kevin McCarthy is responsible for compromising on spending cuts.
These comments show a shift in some Congressional Democrats’ stance from the Biden Administration’s hard line against McCarty over the debt ceiling. This includes a refusal to meet with McCarthy to discuss the issue for a long time. Golden has joined Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia to criticize Biden. Manchin said that Biden’s lack of action “signals an inadequacy of leadership and it must be changed…negotiate right now.”
This demand was met Monday. The administration announced after Yellen made her statement that Biden would invite McCarthy, Schumer and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, as well as House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffreys, to a face-to-face negotiation on May 9th.
Golden is not the only House Democrat who has echoed this sentiment. Rep. Mary Pelolta from Alaska and Rep. Marie Glusenkamp Perez from Washington State are also members of the Blue Dog Caucus, a group of centrist Democrats.
Biden’s willingness to compromise with McCarthy, and accept the spending cuts demanded by House Republicans, is not clear. These cuts include eliminating tax incentives under Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden-Harris proposal for student debt relief, as well as imposing work requirements on welfare.
Golden, Jeffries and McCarthy have all been contacted to provide a statement.