Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Democrats hope to salvage Biden's agenda on Manchin's terms MORE (D-Calif.) is scrambling to keep House Democrats unified behind a bill to raise the federal debt ceiling as a small band of moderates threatens to tank the measure over concerns about political optics.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill to suspend the federal debt ceiling through December 2022. But Democratic Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Florida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing MORE (Fla.), Kurt SchraderWalter (Kurt) Kurt SchraderHouse passes bill to strengthen shipping supply chain Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill House passes giant social policy and climate measure MORE (Ore.) and Jared GoldenJared GoldenEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 On The Money — Senate risks Trump's ire with debt ceiling deal Democratic worries grow over politics of SALT cap MORE (Maine) are among those threatening to vote against another attempt to keep the country solvent that will almost certainly die in the Senate, according to Democratic lawmakers.
“We cannot predicate our actions in the House on what could happen in the Senate,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday morning.
“We can when we're coming to agreement on a bill,” she continued “But in terms of this, I have no patience for people not voting for this."
Inside a Democratic whip team meeting moments earlier, Pelosi also sounded off on those moderates threatening to tank the debt bill over concerns it would be nothing more than a show vote.
"I've never seen Pelosi more impassioned as she demanded unity on the debt ceiling vote — essentially shaming those who might take it down," said a moderate lawmaker in the room.
Congress has roughly three weeks to pass a bill raising or suspending the federal debt limit before the U.S. risks defaulting for the first time in history. Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet YellenYellen says Biden's COVID-19 relief bill 'acted like a vaccine for the American economy' On the Money — Yellen highlights wealth gap in MLK speech Yellen: US has 'much more work' to close racial wealth gap MORE told lawmakers Tuesday that the department would likely run out of means to avert a default by Oct. 18, the most specific date offered yet for a potential economic disaster.
Democrats insist that raising the debt ceiling must be a bipartisan effort given the catastrophic stakes of a default and both parties’ role in driving up the national debt over decades.
But Senate Republicans have vowed to block any bill that raises the debt ceiling and followed through twice this week already.
With Republicans almost certain to block the House’s next attempt to raise the debt ceiling, the handful of moderate Democrats have recoiled at voting for another doomed bill that could be turned against them in their reelection bids.
Pelosi, however, was unmoved.
“These members have all voted for this last week. So if they're concerned about how it might be in an ad, it's already in an ad. It's already in an ad. So let us give every confidence every step of the way that we will do that,” she said Wednesday.
Democrats need near unanimity to pass a debt ceiling hike through the House, where just three defections could derail the bill. Failing to pass a debt ceiling increase because of intraparty feuding would be a major embarrassment and undercut Democratic leaders insisting the country’s solvency should rise above politics.
“We must act now,” Pelosi wrote in a letter in Democratic lawmakers released Wednesday afternoon.
“We cannot and will not allow Republicans’ extremism and utter lack of concern for families to drive our economy into the ground.”
Mike Lillis contributed.