In a move that has been labeled “dangerous economic hostage taking“ by the White House, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–CA) is taking a hard stance in the debate over the debt ceiling. On Monday morning, McCarthy told a crowd of reporters at the New York Stock Exchange that House Republicans will soon vote on a bill to lift the debt ceiling into next year, but that no “no–strings–attached” increase to the debt limit will be accepted.
McCarthy also rebuked President Joe Biden for his refusal to negotiate on possible debt limit and spending deals after the two officials met in early February. “The longer President Biden waits to be sensible, to find agreement, the more likely it becomes that his administration will bumble into the first default in our nation’s history,” he said.
The debt ceiling, a policy established by Congress that prevents the federal government from spending beyond the predetermined national debt limit of $31.4 trillion, surpassed the threshold earlier this year. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that she was forced to implement “extraordinary measures” to fund federal agencies until early June, after which the government will default on obligations unless lawmakers suspend or raise the debt limit.
In response to McCarthy‘s remarks, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said he is “engaging in dangerous economic hostage taking” and “breaking with the bipartisan norm” he followed under former President Donald Trump. “He again failed to clearly outline what House Republicans are proposing and will vote on, even as he referenced a vague, extreme MAGA wish list,” Bates added.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) said Democrats want to avoid defaulting on our country’s debts. “Meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy continues to bumble us toward a catastrophic default that would cause the economy to crash, spike job loss, and raise costs for American families,” he asserted.
McCarthy‘s proposed framework would return expenditures to fiscal year 2022 levels and limit annual spending growth to 1% over the next decade. The White House, on the other hand, unveiled a budget proposal last month that would increase expenditures from $5.8 trillion to $6.9 trillion over the next fiscal year while reducing deficits by $3 trillion over the next decade through several tax hikes on businesses and wealthy individuals.
Business leaders and government officials have warned that a national debt default would likely cause a worldwide financial crisis. Republicans have countered that the national debt, which now approaches $31.7 trillion, constitutes a long–term and unsustainable risk to the country. With the debt ceiling debate hitting a boiling point, the outcome of this political battle could have far–reaching implications for the U.S. economy.