Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

How House Democrats Learned to Play Hardball

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Pelosi has told colleagues she was “95 percent certain” that no Democrats would have defected, had the “plan B” bill come up for a vote.

“Yes, we could have played politics with those and let our country default on its debt,” a second Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call in October. “We did it because it was the right thing to do for the country,” the source said, adding that Democrats won concessions in the process.

A third Democratic leadership aide said the newfound willingness to force Republicans’ hand on votes is part of a growing perception of many Democrats that Republicans aren’t faithful negotiating partners on major fiscal issues. “It’s clear they’re not interested in bipartisanship,” the source said.

President Barack Obama, in aggressively demanding new tax increases in any future negotiations in a speech Monday, has drawn the same conclusion, the source added.

Obama is vowing not to negotiate with Republicans on the pending debt ceiling increase, but some liberal Democrats are skeptical, believing he will eventually crack when faced with Republican intransigence.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. insisted in a closed-door meeting with House Democrats on Tuesday that Obama would hold firm, saying that pressure from the business community would force Republicans to fold.

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