“Sen. Bernie Sanders Says Biden Free to Negotiate Budget Cuts, But Not Debt Limit”

Sen. Bernard Sanders endorsed Sunday the idea of President Biden coming to the negotiating table over federal spending cuts but said anything other than a clean debt limit raise to avert a default on the national debt should be off the table.

“I think we can start negotiating tomorrow, but you cannot be holding the American people or the world’s economy hostage,” Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What the Republicans have got to say is, ‘absolutely, we are going to make sure that we pay our debts.’ Let’s sit down and negotiate a budget.”

Mr. Sanders’ remarks underscored the position among most Senate Democrats who say Mr. Biden should remain steadfast in his refusal to negotiate spending cuts to lift the debt ceiling.

House Republicans passed legislation last week to raise the limit and avert default for the next year, putting the White House and Senate Democrats on defense amid GOP demands to hash out an agreement on trillions of dollars in budget cuts.

Democrats are open to lowering the budget but insist that a clean debt ceiling bill be passed, as has been done in previous administrations.

“That’s what Donald Trump wanted when he was president. That’s what he got. That’s what Ronald Reagan wanted when he was president. That’s what he got,” Mr. Sanders said. “You don’t hold the country and the world’s economy hostage over the debt ceiling. You pay your bills.”

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