Republicans in Congress have said they will vote against legislation to increase the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow to cover the gap between revenue and expenditure, even though they themselves are in party responsible for the deficit.
Representatives Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) And Jim Banks (R-Ind.) Announced Monday in an open letter signed by more than 100 of their House colleagues that Republicans would not vote for an increase in the cap on the debt. And they falsely suggested that the Democrats were fully responsible for the debt.
“Because Democrats are responsible for spending, they must take responsibility for raising the debt ceiling,” Hern and Banks wrote, echoing a similar letter from Senate Republicans.
Democrats are responsible for the spending, but so too are Republicans, who voted for new spending and tax cuts that helped the government’s borrowing needs.
In 2017, for example, Republicans passed a tax cut without a single Democratic vote as the Estimated Congressional Budget Office would add more than $ 1 trillion to budget deficits over a decade. (Some Republicans have dubiously claimed that the law will generate economic growth that compensates for lost income.)
“Both Democrats and Republicans share responsibility for our current build-up of debt, ”said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which opposes budget deficits. “Democrats and Republicans, sometimes together, sometimes separately, voted to increase the debt. ”
In a declaration earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted that “the vast majority of debt subject to the debt limit was accumulated before” President Joe Biden took office. Yellen said reaching the debt ceiling would cause “irreparable damage to the US economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.” The government could find itself unable to pay bondholders or beneficiaries of programs like Social Security retirement insurance.
In their letters, Republicans did not say that the debt ceiling should not be raised from its current position of $ 22 trillion. And they’re not specifically asking that spending cuts accompany an increase in the debt ceiling, as they did under the Obama administration in 2011. They are just saying that Democrats should manage the debt ceiling themselves. .
“They have full control of the government and the unilateral ability to raise the debt ceiling to accommodate their unilateral spending plans,” said Monday’s letter.
But Democrats have said they will leave the debt limit outside of the $ 3.5 budget reconciliation they plan to pass this fall without any Republican backing, meaning both sides are essentially playing a chicken game. on a payment default.
The Congress Budget Office said the federal government will likely run out of cash in October or November.
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