by Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden plans to make the case that Congress needs to move quickly to raise the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt limit in a trip on Wednesday to a House district that Republicans had won by a narrow margin in November.
The Democrat’s visit comes a day after he met with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers for the first time in three months to try to push forward on the debt ceiling, a move the Treasury Department has warned could come in weeks.
In an appearance at Westchester Community College north of New York City, Biden plans to discuss the need to move quickly to head off the default. The college is located in a suburban district represented by Republican Congressman Mike Lawler, one of a handful of New York Republicans who co-opted Democrats in 2022, giving their party a 222-213 House of Representatives majority.
Democrats see Republican House members who won the election by narrow margins as possibly being pressured to break their party’s lead and vote for a bill to raise the debt ceiling without conditions.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Republicans will not vote to raise the borrowing limit without an agreement to cut spending.
An aide to the lawmaker said Lawler would attend the event with Biden.
The president will also attend two fundraising events for his 2024 re-election, which will be hosted by wealthy donors — former Blackstone executive Tony James and Libra Group executive chairman George Logothetis.
According to a memorandum from donors, tickets to the James gathering would go for $25,000 per person. Biden announced this year that he would appoint James to his intelligence advisory board.
Logothetis has regularly donated to the Democratic Party and hosted rallies in support of former President Barack Obama.
While Biden has focused largely on his presidential duties since announcing his bid for re-election, his campaign operations are coming to life.
According to sources, the events being planned for Biden are expected to generate some $2.5 million for his re-election campaign.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons and Stephen Coates)