President Joe Biden on Tuesday took his debt-limit pitch to the turf of a vulnerable New York Republican, calling on Rep. Chris Jacobs to join Democrats in raising the borrowing limit and avert a potential default that would roil markets and the economy.
At the White House, Biden met with Jacobs, who represents a swing district in western New York. The president has been personally appealing to Republicans to vote to raise the debt limit, which is expected to be hit by Oct. 18.
Jacobs is one of a handful of Republicans who have said they are open to voting to raise the debt limit. But he faces pressure from his party to oppose the measure.
Biden argued to Jacobs that raising the debt limit is a matter of national security and that failing to do so would devastate the economy.
"If we don't raise the debt limit, we're going to default on our debt," Biden said. "That means we're going to have to start cutting back on things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, and national security."
Jacobs has not said how he will vote on the debt limit. But he said he is listening to Biden's arguments and is considering his options.
"I'm going to continue to listen to the president and my constituents," Jacobs said. "And I'm going to decide based on what I think is best for my district and the country."
The White House hopes Jacobs will vote to raise the debt limit. But it is also preparing for the possibility that he will vote against it.
If Jacobs votes against raising the debt limit, it will make it more difficult for Democrats to get the votes they need to pass the measure.
Democrats control the House of Representatives by a narrow margin. They need all their members to vote for the debt limit, plus at least 10 Republicans, to pass the measure.
The White House is also making a pitch to Republicans in the Senate. But it is unclear whether there are enough Republicans in the Senate who are willing to vote to raise the debt limit.
If Democrats cannot get enough votes to raise the debt limit, it would be a significant setback for Biden and his agenda. It would also increase the risk of a market sell-off and a recession.
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