The looming debt ceiling showdown between lawmakers in Washington, DC, is evidence of the waning influence of corporate America over an increasingly populist Republican Party.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced last week that the United States had reached its $31.3 trillion debt limit and said the Treasury would be able to use “extraordinary measures” until in June to prevent the country from defaulting on its exorbitant debt.
Republicans want spending cuts — which Democrats don’t — to offset the raised cap. President Joe Biden has said he won’t negotiate with the GOP over it, even though he acknowledged last week that politicians “need to focus on making sure we don’t rack up more debts”. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated Biden’s position on Tuesday, saying the cap should be raised “unconditionally,” as the washington post Tony Romm noted.
Corporate America, which has had the ear of Republican politicians for decades, is lobbying lawmakers to raise the cap before the deadline. But Republicans, who have gradually abandoned corporate interests in favor of working-class voter interests in recent years, are no longer as beholden to entities like corporate lobbyists as they once were, before Former President Donald Trump’s populist agenda is only beginning to transform the GOP, as a pair of consultants described to NBC News.
“The importance and influence that many big business groups had at one time is no longer important to the far-right people we have seen in the fight for the presidency,” said one of the consultants who did not want to be identified as him or her. works with these corporate interests. The consultant added that “nothing the Chamber of Commerce or any Fortune 500 CEO or anyone other than maybe Donald Trump says is going to sway them.”
Sam Geduldig, former senior adviser to former Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and co-CEO of lobbying firm CGCN, pointed out that “[t]The constituencies that Republicans increasingly represent skew the working class” and that these voters “want to disrupt the status quo and the establishment, which includes big business.”
“The establishment generally wants to preserve the status quo. So I think we have a class war and that is playing out before us in Congress,” he added.
A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted last week found that the majority of Americans preferred a partial government shutdown over increased spending, as reported by Breitbart News.
Some GOP lawmakers have proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Democrats, including the president, have worked to amplify such a narrative and are trying to counter it with proposed tax increases.
Trump sternly warned Republicans against making a single change to Social Security or Medicare ‘to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree’, but enthusiastically endorsed the cuts other spending initiatives, including cutting “hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars going to corrupt foreign countries.” cut “the mass releases of illegal aliens that are draining our social safety net and destroying our country,” ending radical gender programs in the military, and cutting funding for “climate extremism.”
“Reduce waste, fraud and abuse wherever we can find it, and there is plenty of it, but don’t reduce the benefits our seniors have worked and paid for all their lives. Save Social Security, don’t destroy it,” he warned.