Update (1210ET): During Monday's national address on the debt ceiling, President Biden took to the podium to squarely blame Senate Republicans for risking financial chaos by refusing to pass a measure raising the debt ceiling.
Biden started speaking just after receiving a letter from GOP Sen. McConnell, the minority leader, who insists that Dems use the reconciliation process to bypass a GOP filibuster and pass the debt-ceiling raise completely without GOP support.
Biden pleaded with McConnell and the GOP leadership to give it a rest and just pass the bill, doing everything in his power to try and tag the GOP with responsibility for the holdup.
"If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way," Biden said.
But the message that markets heard, loud and clear, was Biden confirming that, as of Monday, there's no guarantee that the debt ceiling will be raised in time to prevent a breach or even a default.
Hammering again on the GOP's alleged obstructionism, Biden insisted that they "need to stop playing Russian roulette with the American economy" and hold a vote on the Senate bill as quickly as possible this week. He also warned that these debt-ceiling standoffs hurt ordinary Americans.
"Let the Democrats vote to raise the debt ceiling this week...the House has already done it...it's sitting in the Senate, waiting [for them] to pass it. Let us vote and end the mess, we have got to get this done," Biden said. "We can do it this week, just get out of the way and let us pass it".
But why exactly is Biden so opposed to the reconciliation process demanded by McConnell? According to him, reconciliation is a long and convoluted process involving hundreds of votes that ultimately might not be able to raise the limit in time. In reality, the Dems are resistant to using reconciliation because there's are careful limits on what the process can be used for, meaning the Dems would need to expend valuable political capital.
"What's reconciliation? Rhere is a process that I understand the Republican leader is willing to initiate, go through, that will require up to hundreds of votes. It's an unlimited number of votes, nothing to do with the debt limit, it could be anything from...it's fraught with all kinds of danger of miscalculation."
In the Q&A, Biden was asked about the McConnell letter, which he said he saw just before walking out to speak. He said he plans to meet with McConnell on the matter: "I plan on talking to Mitch about it, he and I have been down this road before...and I hope we can have some honest conversation about what he's proposing."
When asked by one reporter if Biden would agree to reconciliation if talks with McConnell go south, he stood firm and insisted that he couldn't commit to using it, even if it were the only option.
Put another way: the game of political chicken between Dems and the GOP continues.
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With US stocks in freefall and Wall Street strategists fretting about the increasingly uncomfortable game of political chicken happening in Congress, President Biden on Monday will deliver remarks to the nation about the need to raise the debt ceiling in a bid to break the logjam.
The growing unease about the possibility that the debt limit won't be raised in time to stop the Treasury from defaulting on its debt, which could unleash a potentially catastrophic chain reaction that could bring down the entire dollar-based financial system (according to some), has caused signs of anxiety in the T-Bills market to worsen.