Biden broaches nuclear option in standoff with McConnell

But Biden’s remark suggested momentum for the act is increasing. It came as the president was returning from delivering his sales pitch for infrastructure and social spending plans in Michigan and as the White House increasingly tries to shame Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for the debt ceiling brinkmanship. On Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to join business leaders at an event on the matter.

“Any scenario is possible to fix the debt ceiling right now,” a person familiar with discussions among Democratic leadership told POLITICO. “Everything is on the table. Every option.”

Republicans have twice thwarted efforts to raise the debt ceiling to avoid an historic default and are on the precipice of doing it again in the Senate on Wednesday, when another bill to raise it will be considered. After voting to raise or suspend the debt ceiling three times under former President Donald Trump, McConnell is refusing to provide Republican votes to solve the looming default in order to inflict political pain on Democrats.

Failure to address the debt limit, a step required by law that at various times has been treated as routine, would tank the country’s credit, raise interest rates and impact social security checks. But for months, McConnell has pressured Democrats to act on the debt limit on their own through the complex budget process known as reconciliation. It’s a step Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have long resisted because it would take up precious Senate floor time — but nonetheless is a filibuster-proof way around the issue.

While Democrats closely aligned with the Biden administration have urged it to use whatever avenues are available, White House officials had repeatedly said that Biden continued to oppose creating filibuster carve outs, also known as the “nuclear option,” to address the debt ceiling or other legislative deadlocks.

“The debt limit needs to be raised. The best would be to do it in a bipartisan manner, but if that’s not possible the Democrats should figure out whatever way works for them,” said Jason Furman, who served as a Council of Economic Advisers chair for former President Barack Obama. “Economically, the outcome is the same whether it is the nuclear option, reconciliation or some other way.”

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