The White House wants Democrats who have doubts about the debt ceiling agreement to focus on what was excluded rather than what was included. They are working to sell the deal, which would suspend the debt ceiling until January 2025, limit federal spending during that period, and make changes to social welfare programs.
Initial feedback from stakeholders and lawmakers has been generally positive, giving the White House hope that they can gather enough votes from their side of the aisle to pass the bill. However, there are challenges ahead. Progressives are unhappy with the new work requirements in assistance programs like TANF and SNAP, as well as the spending caps. They believe the White House should not have negotiated on the debt limit.
“It protects the historic economic gains we’ve made, really allowing one of the strongest recoveries on record to continue by taking the threat of default off the table into 2025, it protects a set of historic legislative accomplishments that this president has had over the last two and a half years,” a White House official told reporters on a briefing call Sunday.
Officials emphasize that programs like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, CHIPS, and others are maintained and funded under the agreement. They claim that the spending figures ultimately favor Democrats, even if Republicans celebrate spending cuts.
The deal also allows President Biden to avoid another debt ceiling standoff until after the 2024 general election. However, some Democrats have expressed frustration with the lack of communication and transparency during the negotiation process. They feel left out and want more details about the deal.
The White House has been conducting one-on-one calls with lawmakers to address their concerns and provide talking points. They have reached out to over 60 House Democrats and plan to do the same with the Senate. While some lawmakers are withholding judgment until they see the legislative text and hear from the president, others have shown support for the agreement.
Centrist Democrats, such as the New Democrat Coalition, have been in close contact with the White House and have influenced the agreement positively. On the other hand, progressive groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have criticized the deal, particularly the new work requirements in SNAP for older adults.
Despite the criticism, President Biden dismissed these claims as “ridiculous assertions” during his remarks from the White House.