AOC dunks on McCarthy over debt ceiling negotiations as Democrats consider forcing a vote on increasing the debt limit

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Twitter over debt ceiling talks on Wednesday.J. Scott Applewhite/AP
  • Republicans and the White House are in talks to raise the US debt limit as the clock runs out.

  • House Democrats moved to force a vote to increase the debt limit, which requires 218 signatures.

  • AOC said Rep. Kevin McCarthy is in no position to try to negotiate the debt ceiling.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is in no position to try to negotiate the debt ceiling, as House Democrats moved forward with a backup plan on Wednesday that would force a vote in order to increase the debt limit before the US defaults on its bills.

A day after congressional leaders and President Joe Biden expressed optimism about addressing the nation's debt limit before the June 1 deadline, Rep. Brendan Boyle, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, initiated a petition to force a vote to increase the debt limit.

The congressional maneuver, known as a discharge petition, requires 218 signatures, regardless of party affiliation. More than 200 lawmakers signed the petition on Wednesday, with Democrats expecting to get signatures from all 213 of their members.

No Republicans have signaled that they will cross over and sign the petition, but Ocasio-Cortez expressed that Democrats are in a position to pressure Republicans with the special maneuver.

"Here's the deal: McCarthy has nowhere near the votes for a deal and therefore cannot negotiate debt ceiling," Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. "You need 218 votes. GOP has maybe ~150. They will need anywhere from 50-100 House Dems to pass anything. Dems have 213 votes for a clean bill & just need to pick up 5."

She also likened the situation to McCarthy's Speaker vote debacle in January, when Congress members went through 15 rounds of voting before they finally settled on the Republican leader for the Speaker title.

"We got a preview of this during McCarthy's disaster of Speaker vote in January. He doesn't know how many votes he has on what. That's what makes this "negotiating" rudderless," she wrote. "How do you deal with someone who cannot deliver passage? Clean bill needs 5. He can't pass without Dems."

Representatives for McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.

McCarthy said Wednesday that the move was a "political game" and that Republicans in the Senate would attempt to block it, according to The New York Times.

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