On May 6, a group of 43 Republican senators announced their opposition to raising the debt ceiling without implementing significant spending and budget reforms.
White House faces a political deadlock over debt limit
This united stance aligns them with their House counterparts as they continue to face a political deadlock over the federal debt ceiling leading up to a crucial White House meeting.
Spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), addressed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Calif.) emphasizing their support for spending cuts and budget reforms as a starting point in debt ceiling negotiations.
Republicans aren’t going to ‘bail out Biden’
Lee noted, “It is now clear that Senate Republicans aren’t going to bail out Biden and Schumer, they have to negotiate.”
President Joe Biden is set to discuss the federal debt ceiling with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on May 9.
The President refuses to negotiate – White House Press Secretary
However, the White House has indicated that the president is unlikely to make any concessions. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on May 2, “He is not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling.”
Nonetheless, the president is open to discussing other aspects, such as spending and budget plans.
Biden and McCarthy in a deadlock since January
Since January, Biden and McCarthy have been in a deadlock over raising the debt ceiling, with the president urging Congress to pass a hike without any conditions.
Conversely, McCarthy insists on limiting future spending before considering a debt ceiling increase. He asserted, “No clean debt ceiling is going to pass the House. We can’t do that to our children.”
On April 26, House Republicans proposed a solution to the debt crisis, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which entails raising the federal borrowing cap by $1.5 trillion and implementing extensive spending cuts.
Democrats reject Republican’s proposed solution
Democrats have rejected this proposal. Schumer is currently working to advance a clean, two-year extension of the debt limit in the Senate, and Democrats will decide whether to vote on the extension after the White House meeting.
Schumer, McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) are also invited to the debt limit meeting on May 9.
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US Government could default on its debt obligations by 01 June
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the government could default on its debt obligations “potentially as early as June 1” if Congress fails to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.
The Senate Republicans acknowledged the urgency of Yellen’s letter, stating, “Our economy is in free fall due to unsustainable fiscal policies. This trajectory must be addressed with fiscal reforms.”
They added that the House has taken a responsible first step by proposing solutions and urged the president to do the same.
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Republican senators are holding America ‘hostage’
The White House, however, criticized the Republican senators for “holding millions of American jobs, businesses, and retirement accounts hostage” and called on them to “honor their Constitutional obligation to pay our bills and not unilaterally inflict a recession on the country.”
Six Republican senators—Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and John Kennedy (R-La.)—did not support Lee’s effort.
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