GOP-wanted spending cuts remain a mystery after McCarthy’s speech
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has yet to define what Republicans seek in exchange for an increase in the federal borrowing limit, as the debate over the debt ceiling continues to swirl.
In an address to the nation Monday night, McCarthy said the federal debt was “the greatest threat to our future,” adding that the Democratic-controlled White House and Congress in recent years had been spending as if “the national debt does not matter.”
“For years, we’ve watched Democrats in Congress spend your hard-earned tax dollars as if they were imaginary,” he said.
The United States hit its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling in January, urging Congress to raise the limit before the country is forced to default on its debt. But McCarthy has previously said House Republicans — who control the chamber — would not vote to raise President Joe Biden’s limit without major spending cuts.
While McCarthy said Monday that cutting federal programs like Medicare and Social Security was “not on the cards,” the speaker provided little information on the specific changes the GOP is demanding.
Instead, McCarthy called on Biden “to get to work,” criticizing the president’s past statement that he would not allow the GOP to use the debt ceiling as a “bargaining chip.”
“We need a different approach,” McCarthy added in his speech. “No lines drawn in the sand or saying this is my way or the highway. No political gimmicks or political games.
“Most importantly, no blank checks for spending sprees. Just sensible, responsible solutions to our growing national debt.”
In recent weeks, other Republicans have also been hesitant to share their spending cut ideas. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters at a press conference in January that he was “unwilling to lay out here today” exactly what spending cuts the GOP wants, reports The New York Times.
Johnson is also included in a pact with 23 other GOP senators who have said they will oppose any increase in the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by “real structural spending reform that reduces deficit spending.
While the coalition’s letter to Biden last week also didn’t specify what structural changes senators want, it called on the White House to “expand the size and score of the IRS.” [to go] after families and small businesses, monitoring Americans’ social media discourse, funding equity programs in the military, and pouring money into pandemic programs your administration has declared over. “
McCarthy’s presentation also offered a prelude to Biden’s State of the Union address scheduled for Tuesday night, where the president will face Congress for the first time since Republicans took control of the House in November.
On Monday, Andrew Bates, deputy White House press secretary, said Policy in a statement that in his speech, Biden “will show the American people his plan to build on the unprecedented deficit reduction his leadership has already delivered,” which includes raising taxes for big business and lowering the cost of drugs on prescription.
“Meanwhile, House Republicans are threatening to actively throw our economy into freefall with a default — which they have a non-negotiable constitutional duty to prevent — unless they can further cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Bates said. “It’s completely upside down.”
“The president is delivering on his commitment to build an economy that grows from the bottom up and down the middle, not the top down.”
Newsweek contacted McCarthy’s office for comment.