Schumer says there is no GOP debt plan because McCarthy ‘can’t get 218 votes’ for one

Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters following a closed-door policy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Schumer says there is no GOP debt plan because McCarthy ‘can’t get 218 votes’ for one

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for not producing a GOP proposal to avert a debt ceiling crisis, accusing the Republican leader of being vague because he is unable to get enough votes.

“Show us your plan,” Schumer said during a press conference on Tuesday, a line he’s been using since early January. “The reason he doesn’t want to do it, in my humble judgment, it’s because he can’t get 218 votes for any plan.”


McCarthy sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning urging the president to schedule a meeting by the end of this week, accusing Biden of putting the economy “in jeopardy” by refusing to negotiate. Biden and Democrats have repeatedly said a second meeting could not occur until Republicans release their proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

The House speaker outlined a number of topics he would like to address in a meeting with Biden, including nondefense spending, unspent COVID-19 funds, lower energy costs, strengthen work requirements, and other items.

“Today, he said he wants $4 trillion in cuts,” Schumer said. “A number is not a plan, especially a number that’s so vague and amorphous that he doesn’t mean anything specific at all. I think he’s really feeling the pressure but has no solution. So, we keep saying the same thing.”

The letter from McCarthy comes as negotiations have been at a stalemate as both sides attempt to leverage the debt ceiling crisis to advance their own positions. 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.

The House Freedom Caucus recently released a blueprint for budget cuts as a condition for a vote to raise the debt limit. The exhaustive list of demands includes measures that would cut current spending and place a cap on future spending. It would also rescind unspent COVID-19 funds, end student loan bailout programs, and repeal increased funding for the IRS that was part of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.


Senate Republicans have taken a back seat in the debate over raising the nation’s borrowing limit but are projecting confidence that McCarthy will be able to find a way forward.

“We are very supportive of what the speaker is trying to do,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), who is still stepping in and leading press conferences as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recovers from a concussion he sustained a couple of weeks ago. “Hopefully, his letter, which laid out some specific solutions, will get the administration back to the table and to have a meaningful conversation about how to deal with raising the debt limit.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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