Holding the debt ceiling hostage unless GOP conditions for gutting Social Security and Medicare are met isn’t a negotiation- it’s extortion. The GOP "intends to use the debt ceiling to extract draconian cuts to Medicare and Social Security — pushing the country and the world to the brink of disaster all so that they can steal from average Americans and shovel more money to the super rich."
Cutting these programs, by the GOP’s own admission, is in part a measure to ensure that workers must work further into old age. Further, social programs often aren’t considered “waste” by experts, as many of these programs actually end up saving the government money on expenses like health care costs.
“Once again Republicans are demanding cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and if they don’t get what they want, they’re willing to tank the American economy, destroy a strong job market and jack up interest rates and inflation,” Ron Wyden said, pointing out that Republicans had no problem when the federal deficit skyrocketed due to their 2017 tax cuts. “Either way, they’re rooting for higher costs and a lower standard of living for millions of American seniors and families.”
Janet Yellen has dismissed the viability of theoretical ideas to raise the debt limit, such as minting a trillion-dollar coin. But she has called for abolishing the statutory debt limit entirely, warning that the borrowing cap was “destructive” to the U.S. economy and arguing that it was blocking the federal government from spending money that Congress had already authorized.
Thus far, that recommendation has gone unheeded by Congress. Doing away with the debt limit, it seems, is even harder than raising it.
The White House is blasting Republican lawmakers for pushing for major spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt limit. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke on Tuesday.
- Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “This is not a plan; it is a recipe for economic catastrophe. As President Biden has made clear, Congress must deal with the debt limit, and must do so without conditions. But congressional Republicans are threatening to hold the nation’s full faith and credit, a mandate of the Constitution, hostage to their demands to cut Social Security, to cut Medicare and to cut Medicaid.”
The U.S. will technically hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said extraordinary measures can be taken to keep paying the government’s bills until early June.
The Biden administration and House Republicans are heading toward an initial Thursday debt ceiling deadline without even a hint of an endgame, ensuring a months-long standoff that’s poised to rattle financial markets amid worries about a recession this year.
The two sides are effectively shrugging as the Treasury Department warns the country will hit the $31.4 trillion borrowing cap Thursday — though it’s not a hard deadline, as the department can still use extraordinary measures to pay the bills for another few months. But it means the potential economic doomsday clock is officially ticking, with House Republicans still insisting on massive spending cuts before they help raise the debt ceiling and Democrats refusing to engage the idea.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that the U.S. likely won’t run out of cash or exhaust those measures until at least early June. Until then, the department is suspending investments in certain government retirement funds and hoping the House GOP and Democrats can come to an agreement to keep the government from careening into an economic crisis with far-reaching consequences.
But Yellen’s warning to congressional leaders hasn’t spurred any movement toward even the beginning of a deal between Congress and the White House. The biggest legislative battle of the year is just beginning — and threatening to grow even messier than the 15-ballot speakership fight — and there’s no exit strategy in sight.
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