Joe Biden was seeing red when these two key Senate Democrats sided with Republicans on the debt ceiling

Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr,

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning that the United States could default on its debt as soon as June.

After House Republicans passed a debt ceiling bill that cuts spending, Joe Biden said no and called on Senate Democrats to hold firm.

But Joe Biden was seeing red when these two key Senate Democrats sided with Republicans on the debt ceiling.

Some political observers think Joe Biden is losing his grip on the White House and the Democrat Party.

Positioning themselves to be potential players

And if the most recent news from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and former Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) is any indication, it looks like that is true.

While Biden and his allies are insisting on no negotiations until after the borrowing limit is lifted, Manchin and Sinema are positioning themselves as potential players in Senate negotiations.

This is not making the Biden White House happy because the two Democrats are putting his “no negotiation” policy at risk.

Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Senate Democrats continue to insist on no negotiations until the debt ceiling is lifted.

But Manchin and Sinema are actively pushing for bipartisan negotiations and a deal with Republicans.

They’re also positioning themselves as likely key players in any future Senate talks on finding a way out of the debt crisis.

Playing a constructive role

Manchin and Sinema have communicated this message in their own differing ways. 

Manchin has very publicly urged Biden to work directly with Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

In fact, the West Virginia Senator regularly releases statements to the media pushing for bipartisan talks.

And to rub salt in Biden’s wound, these statements often show up in GOP press releases. 

Sinema, on the other hand, has been a little less public about her involvement in pushing negotiations.

She has quietly dined with Speaker McCarthy and signaled her hopes for a bipartisan negotiated solution to various GOP Senators.

Republicans follow Manchin and Sinema’s statements and signals closely and are hopeful that the two might be speaking for a few other Democrats as well.

“She’s trying to play a constructive role and try to get people to the table and understand that we can’t go over the brink on this,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said. 

Thune has had several conversations with both Senators about the debt ceiling battle. 

“Manchin saying things like that is constructive and helpful. Hopefully helps his leadership realize … a straight debt increase just is a nonstarter,” Thune said.

Manchin and Sinema must wait until Biden’s meeting with Congressional leaders before they can begin negotiating a deal with Republicans.

Playing chicken

Their active lobbying for a bipartisan solution is being noticed in Washington, D.C. and back in their home states.

Both Sinema and Manchin are up for reelection next year in what could be two very closely contested races.

That’s why many in the GOP are hopeful that other Democrats, like Montana’s John Tester, who is also up next year, might join the ranks of those calling for negotiations.

And there’s always the possibility that one of the Senate’s bipartisan “gangs” will join in to propose a debt limit compromise. 

Sinema has warned that Joe Biden “playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States is irresponsible” given the impact a debt default could have on the nation.

“Both sides need to come together, put down the partisan talking points, and discuss realistic solutions to prevent default,” she said.

For Manchin and Sinema, the debt ceiling fight presents a great political opportunity heading into reelection. 

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.