Biden Blasts Republicans As ‘Hypocritical, Dangerous’ On Debt Limit Issue

Biden Blasts Republicans As ‘Hypocritical, Dangerous’ On Debt Limit Issue

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
October 4, 2021

President Biden is urging Republicans to back off playing “Russian roulette with the American economy” and help Democrats raise the debt ceiling ahead of the looming default deadline while chastising the opposing party’s obstruction of the issue as “hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful.”

“Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president and each time with Democrat support, but now they won’t raise it, even though they’re responsible for more than $8 trillion of bills incurred in four years under the previous administration,” Biden said.

Biden argued that the Republicans’ refusal to take a vote on the debt ceiling issue was “hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful.”

“Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president and each time with Democrat support, but now they won’t raise it, even though they’re responsible for more than $8 trillion of bills incurred in four years under the previous administration,” Biden said.

“What they’re doing today is so reckless and dangerous in my view,” Biden continued. “Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job. They’re threatening to abuse the power, their power, to prevent us from doing our job saving the economy from a catastrophic event.”

“I think, quite frankly, it is hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful. Their obstruction and irresponsibility know absolutely no bounds,” he added.

Last week, the Senate GOP blocked the proposal to raise the ceiling after it was attached to the government stopgap measure. In a letter to all Senate Democrats over the weekend, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his plans to attempt to advance the House-approved legislation to the Senate floor this week that would suspend the debt ceiling until December 2022, a speedier method of raising the borrowing limit.

“Our Republican colleagues have completely abdicated their responsibility to the nation by refusing to pay for the spending and debts incurred as a result of the bipartisan COVID relief legislation passed during the Trump administration,” Schumer wrote in his letter to Senate Democrats. “Let me be clear about the task ahead of us: we must get a bill to the president’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week. Period.”

Congress has two weeks — October 18  to vote on raising the borrowing limit as the government will run out of cash around this time. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raised the alarm last week, telling lawmakers that Congress has until mid-October to adjust the debt ceiling and avoid triggering an “economic catastrophe” in putting the U.S. defaulting on its debt for the first time in government history.

According to a forecast released Friday by the bipartisan policy center, the U.S. is on track to default on the national debt between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4 if Congress cannot raise the federal debt ceiling. A report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released last Wednesday stated the department is likely to exhaust its ability to borrow as soon as late October or early November if politicians in Washington fail to raise America’s so-called debt ceiling in time.

McConnell, in a letter to Biden, sent Monday morning, telling the president that he should put the pressure on his party into raising the debt ceiling without the help of the GOP, reiterating to the president that he has warned for months that he won’t help Democrats out of the jam.

“Since mid-July, Republicans have clearly stated that Democrats will need to raise the debt limit on their own. All year, your party has chosen to pursue staggering, ‘transformational’ spending through unprecedented use of the party-line reconciliation process,” McConnell said in Monday’s letter to Biden. “We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well.”

“Congressional Democrats have wasted weeks complaining that this relatively brief process would inconvenience their floor schedules. Mr. President, as you know, as a Senate veteran, that is not an excuse; it is just a complaint. Republicans will not build Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer a shortcut around procedural hurdles they can clear on their own, so they have a more convenient path to jam us with a partisan taxing and spending spree,” he added.

Schumer is refusing to use the budget reconciliation process to raise the debt ceiling, a method that will see only Democrats voting in favor to get around the Senate’s filibuster rule. Last week, the Senate parliamentarian office ruled that Schumer could use the budget reconciliation process to bring a debt limit bill to the Senate floor. The debt ceiling bill, according to the parliamentarian guidance, would not jeopardize the larger spending package.

McConnell also cites Biden’s past opposition to debt increases while in the minority during his time as Senator in the early 2000s.

“You explained on the Senate floor that your ‘no’ votes did not mean you wanted the majority to let the country default, but rather that the President’s party had to take responsibility for a policy agenda which you opposed. Your view then is our view now,” McConnell wrote.

Biden told reporters following his remarks that he read the letter 10 minutes prior to delivering remarks and plans to speak with McConnell about it. When asked if he could guarantee that the debt ceiling would be raised, Biden said, “No, I can’t. That’s up to Mitch McConnell.”

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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