President Joe Biden hammered Republicans from the White House and laid blame for the fight over a bill to raise the debt ceiling solely at the GOP’s feet.
In an address to the nation Monday morning, Mr Biden presented the debt ceiling fight as a problem manufactured by Republicans, who incurred trillions of dollars in debt over the course of the Trump administration. Those same Republicans, he added, were now lying about why the debt ceiling increase was necessary.
“Folks watching at home, you should know that this is the Republican position. Here it is: Republicans won’t raise the debt limit to fund their own spending,” Mr Biden said.
“As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be impacted by this Republican stunt,” he continued.
The US has until roughly 10 October to raise the debt ceiling, after which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said America will be unable to fully meet its obligations.
Mr Biden and his party hope to pass a measure through the Senate to extend America’s borrowing limit before that date, but face the threat of a filibuster from their GOP colleagues. Such a measure would require 60 votes to pass, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has ruled out a debt ceiling hike through budget reconciliation.
Republicans have spent weeks falsely tying the increase of America’s debt ceiling to the Democrat-led plan to revitalize America’s infrastructure and social programs to the tune of $4.5 trillion in total between two bills. One bill totaling $1 trillion was supported by a number of GOP senators and passed the Senate without a filibuster.
Democrats have correctly pointed out that even should both of Mr Biden’s infrastructure bills fail in the House or Senate, America would still run out of money to fund its existing obligations.
On Monday, Mr Biden drove that point home while hanging a bill for $8 trillion in debt incurred by the US under the Trump administration around the neck of Republicans who he said were now unwilling to pay for their own spending.
“They’re responsible for more than $8 trillion in bills from the previous administration,” said Mr Biden.
“A failure to raise the debt limit will call into question Congress’s willingness to pay debts already incurred,” he continued.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will whip members against increasing the debt limit for any reason; he hopes to force Democrats to use the reconciliation measure to pass the debt ceiling hike, which could force Democrats to change or abandon their plans to pass a $3.5 trillion bill largely focused on social programs, health care, and addressing climate change through reconciliation.
In responses to questions from reporters after his address on Monday, Mr Biden predicted that some Republicans would break their opposition, but said that he couldn’t guarantee that the GOP would not force the US to default on its loans.
“I can’t believe that that will be the end result, because the consequences are so desire...but can I guarantee it? If I could, I would, but I can’t,” Mr Biden added.
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