Over 200 Democrats Endorse Plan to Sidestep House GOP in Debt Limit Fight

Almost every Democrat in the House has endorsed an effort to sidestep Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and bring a clean debt ceiling increase to a vote that doesn’t include spending cuts for the federal government. 

Under the direction of Democrat House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Democrats started collecting signatures for a discharge petition Wednesday morning. Discharge petitions could vote on legislation if the majority party objects; however, a majority of House lawmakers need to sign it. 

As of the afternoon on Thursday, 210 Democrats in the House signed the discharge petition in the hopes of forcing a vote on an increase in the debt ceiling. 

The three Democrats who haven’t yet signed their names to it are Representatives Ed Case of Hawaii, Jared Golden of Maine, and Mary Peltola of Alaska. 

GOP members have rejected the idea of a clean debt ceiling increase without preconditions. They passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would raise the borrowing limit by $1.5 trillion while additionally cutting back the federal government’s discretionary levels to 2022 levels and rolling back crucial Biden administration initiatives.

According to Peltola’s office, she will sign the petition and point to a statement explaining that the delay was due to a family tragedy.

“I continue to support the ongoing negotiations by all parties and believe a discharge petition to bring a clean debt ceiling solution to the floor can provide a valuable backup option. I am currently grieving the loss of my mother, but I intend to sign the discharge petition as soon as I am able to return to D.C.,” said Peltola.

Rep. Golden’s office referred to an earlier report where the congressman criticized the discharge petition. 

Representative Case’s office hasn’t yet commented. 

A discharge petition requires a simple majority of 218 votes; however, Dems only have 213 seats. Republicans have so far been united behind the call for spending cuts to pair with any increase in the debt limit. 

Hakeem Jeffries called for every Dem to sign the petition

House Minority Leader Jeffries called for every Democrat to sign the petition in a letter to colleagues he sent Wednesday morning, despite showing some optimism about the previous day’s meeting with leaders in Congress and the White House on the debt ceiling. 

“Emerging from the White House meeting, I am hopeful that a real pathway exists to find an acceptable, bipartisan resolution that prevents a default,” said Jeffries. “However, given the impending June 1 deadline and urgency of the moment, it is important that all legislative options be pursued in the event that no agreement is reached.”

Rep. McCarthy dismissed the effort during an afternoon press conference. 

“I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” said McCarthy, and referenced the fact that almost every GOP senator has voiced support for his stance. 

“So, is that sensible? Is that even being productive? Is that even reasonable? Is that responsible? It seems to me that would be playing into a Biden default,” McCarthy continued.