Democrats upped their criticism Thursday of House Republicans for not producing their version of a federal budget, laying out specific spending cuts, ahead of the debt ceiling showdown.
“The Republican budget plan is hiding in the witness protection program. It’s in an undisclosed location,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said during a joint press conference to discuss a new Joint Economic Committee report produced by Democratic staff. “They have failed to present it at all. They’re not serious about moving forward in a sensible way.”
Jeffries’s line of attack has become a common Democratic refrain as the parties prepare to do battle over spending and the nation’s borrowing limit.
In the absence of a budget from the House Republican Conference, the Democrats’ focus has been on spending cuts proposed by the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers.
Democrats remain firm in their stance that House Republicans should raise the nation’s borrowing limit with no conditions. House Republicans continue to reject that position and assert they won’t pass a debt ceiling increase unless they have an agreement with the White House on budget cuts. Senate Democrats also continue to call on House Republicans to put out their plan. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are waiting in the wings, leaving it all up to Biden and McCarthy.
“But that should not be part of the debt ceiling. Look, we are going to have to come together, Democrats and Republicans, and hopefully pass a budget, not a [continuing resolution] but an omnibus. We did it last year, and we will do it again. I’m not going to negotiate ahead of time,” he added.
Behind the scenes, McCarthy has started to meet with members who represent the different ideological corners of his caucus.
At this point, there have been no major breakthroughs, and House Republicans still have not coalesced around which spending cuts they want to demand, which could be a highly political process.