Rep. Susan Wild, one of the country’s most politically vulnerable Democrats, made her displeasure known over the White House’s handling of talks to raise the debt ceiling with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In a closed-door meeting on Thursday, the Pennsylvania Democrat contended that the White House’s deal-cutting could put her party in a difficult position and force lawmakers to vote on thorny issues that would almost certainly be used against them in their reelection bids next year. And above all else: She said that the White House was taking House Democrats’ votes for granted, according to sources in the room.
Wild’s sentiment, which has been echoed privately by progressives and moderates alike, was noted by House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. The New York Democrat assured his caucus that he has relayed that message to the White House to convey to House GOP negotiators in the last-ditch talks to avoid default.
“There’s going to be votes that are going to be required by House Democrats, and we can’t vote for something that goes against our constituents and their interests,” Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told CNN.
In private, the assessment is much harsher.
“The White House needs to understand there are a lot of very frustrated members of the Democratic Caucus who are very concerned about the position that Democrats are being put in,” one Democratic lawmaker told CNN. “Everybody in the room is worried, is not being communicated with. They don’t know what’s happening.”
Indeed, the widespread angst comes as Democrats fear that the White House is getting rolled in negotiations with McCarthy, who has insisted he would only give into one concession – to raise the debt ceiling – in exchange for a host of Republican priorities. In particular, any deal is expected to include spending cuts for a wide range of domestic programs, many of which are top Democratic priorities.
Plus, Republicans are demanding new work requirements on social safety net programs like food stamps, something that Jeffries has warned against. And the GOP is pushing to ease the permitting of energy projects, an idea that is causing progressives to revolt.
McCarthy is expected to lose dozens of his conservative members on any deal cut with the White House. That means the California Republican will have to rely on Democratic votes to get the bill over the finish line.
Jeffries, though, offered a blunt warning on Thursday.
“Yes,” he said when asked by CNN whether GOP leaders are wrong to assume that House Democrats will help supply the votes to pass a deal worked out with the White House.
‘An atrocity:’ Democrats bash White House’s messaging strategy
Democrats believe they are getting hammered by the lack of White House pushback against McCarthy, who has bee