On The Money — Behind the White House’s debt ceiling strategy

We break down why the White House isn’t sitting down with Republicans to find a debt limit deal yet. We’ll also look at a new low for union membership and big changes at a major streaming service.

But first, find out how gas stoves became part of the culture wars.

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Someone forward you this newsletter?

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Why the White House won’t negotiate on debt ceiling

The White House is refusing to negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling, a risky position that Democrats think is a political winner, but that also reflects their scars from previous fights.

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday notified congressional leaders that her office will begin to implement “extraordinary measures” to keep the U.S. government from defaulting on its debt. 

  • Taking the position that you won’t negotiate will allow Republicans to argue that a refusal by the White House to discuss spending cuts amid a rising debt crisis means President Biden is not acting in the public’s interest. 

  • But White House officials and Democrats believe they have much more leverage if they do not negotiate.

Here’s what’s behind the White House strategy from The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Brett Samuels.

  • There’s a precedent: Congress has voted to increase the debt limit more than a dozen times in the last 25 years — including three times during the Trump administration. 

  • Negotiations have led to pain: Then-President Obama did negotiate with House Republicans over raising the debt ceiling and cutting spending in 2011. Many Democrats rue those talks, which took place when Biden was vice president.   

  • Biden thinks he has the higher political ground: Refusing to negotiate can be a dangerous proposition, but the White House thinks raising the debt ceiling should not be about negotiations — especially if doing so could result in changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Read more about the fight over the federal debt limit: 

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he is confident that the U.S. will never default on its debt and that he is not concerned a financial crisis could be on the horizon.  

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday he’s seeking bipartisan support on measures to raise the debt ceiling and scrutinize social safety net programs in order to avoid a default on federal debt that would have global economic repercussions.


Union membership drops to new low despite organizing wave 

The union membership rate in the U.S. hit a new low in 2022 despite a wave of organizing efforts across the country, according to Labor Department data released Thursday.

  • The percentage of workers who were members of a union dropped to 10.1 percent, down from 10.3 percent.  

  • Union membership has steadily fallen for decades amid anti-organizing efforts by corporations and Republican lawmakers. Roughly 20 percent of workers were union members in 1983. 

  • That trend continued last year, even as the number of union petitions rose 53 percent and workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and other companies voted to unionize for the first time.

The AFL-CIO said that Thursday’s figures “don’t capture” the recent surge in organizing. The nation’s largest labor federation said that those efforts will result in significant union member growth in the coming years.

Karl has more here.


Reed Hastings to step down as Netflix CEO, stay on as executive chairman 

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings announced he is stepping down from his current position as co-CEO of the company, saying he will stay on as executive chairman for the streaming service giant.

Hastings, who co-founded Netflix along with Marc Randolph in 1997, said in a news release on Thursday that the company’s current chief operating officer, Greg Peters, will now serve alongside Ted Sarandos as co-CEOs.

The move comes as Netflix struggles to keep up with growing competition in the streaming space.

The Hill’s Olafimihan Oshin has more here.

Good to Know

A coalition of agricultural and other business groups are suing the Biden administration over a new environmental rule that aims to protect temporary streams from pollution.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association led the lawsuit, which also included groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council.

Other items we’re keeping an eye on:

  • Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday accused energy companies of throwing people “under the bus” by continuing to invest in fossil fuels.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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