Biden calls GOP refusal to raise debt ceiling hypocrite
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden criticized GOP lawmakers on Monday for failing to raise the country’s debt ceiling during a White House press conference. The president’s remarks came as the country quickly neared its federal borrowing limit and lawmakers wrangled over points on its legislative agenda.
“Raising the debt limit is like paying what we already owe,” Biden said. “The United States is a nation that pays its bills and always has.”
Biden blamed Republicans for their “reckless” spending during the Trump administration, forcing the country to raise its debt ceiling.
“In four years, they have contracted nearly $ 8 trillion … in four years, $ 8 trillion in additional debt into bills that we now have to pay,” he continued.
He also called GOP lawmakers “hypocrites” for raising the debt ceiling during the Trump administration, but refusing to do so now.
Biden added he could fall back on Democrats’ shoulders to raise the debt ceiling.
“So be it,” he continued. “But they[GOP}havetostopplayingRussianturkeywiththeUSeconomy”[GOP}needtostopplayingRussianroulettewiththeUSeconomy”[GOP}doiventarrêterdejoueràlarouletterusseavecl’économieaméricaine”[GOP}needtostopplayingRussianroulettewiththeUSeconomy”
The United States has never defaulted on its debts in the modern age and historically both sides have voted to increase the limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that if the current cap of $ 28.4 trillion is not raised by October 18, the United States is likely to face a financial crisis and economic recession.
Increasing or suspending the debt limit allows the federal government to pay off obligations already incurred. It does not authorize new spending. The president said raising the debt ceiling would allow the country to pay for social security for the elderly, military salaries and benefits for veterans.
Biden warned that if the debt ceiling was not raised, the country’s credit rating would be downgraded and interest rates could rise for mortgages and credit cards.
House Democrats voted in September to suspend the debt limit until the end of 2022. But Republican senators say Biden and the ruling Democrats should go it alone as they also try to implement a multibillion dollar package of debt increases. ‘taxes on the rich and new spending on children, health care, infrastructure and the environment.
“Well, I hope the Republicans aren’t irresponsible enough to refuse to raise the debt ceiling and obstruct the debt ceiling,” Biden said Saturday before leaving the White House. “It would be totally unacceptable. It has never been done before, and so I hope it does not happen.”
President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 2, 2021. Photographer: Michael Reynolds / EPA / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Kentucky Republican Leader Mitch McConnell argued Democrats should pass a debt limit extension with the same budget tools they use to try and pull off the $ 3.5 trillion effort to expand programs social safety net and fight climate change. He reiterated the warning when the Senate opened on Thursday, even as Democrats called the option “not launched.”
Lawmakers have raised or suspended the debt ceiling nearly 80 times since 1960. Democrats have joined the Republican majority in the Senate in doing so three times during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Last week Biden legislation signed to avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded until December 3. Democrats wanted to address both priorities, including the looming debt limit issue, in a single bill – but Senate Republicans blocked that effort last week.
Arguments in both houses on the debt ceiling followed similar themes.
“You’re more interested in punishing Democrats than preserving our credit and that’s something I really have a hard time understanding,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass ., to Republicans. “The idea of not paying the bills just because we don’t like (Biden’s) policies is the wrong way to go.”
Steadfast, Republicans have argued that Democrats have chosen to advance their political priorities on their own and are therefore responsible for raising the debt limit themselves.
“As long as the Democratic majority continues to insist on spending money hand in hand, Republicans will refuse to help them raise the debt ceiling,” said Representative Tom Cole, R-Okla.
The Treasury has taken steps to preserve liquidity, but once it is depleted, it will be forced to rely on incoming income to pay its obligations. This would likely mean delays in payments to Social Security recipients, veterans, and government officials, including military personnel. The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank, predicts that the federal government would be unable to meet about 40% of the payments due in the weeks that follow.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. It was reported from Cincinnati.