- The Democrats attacked Mitch McConnell for trying to mobilize the Republicans against raising the debt ceiling.
- “He will not be able to hold the economy hostage,” said a senior Democrat on Wednesday.
- The Republicans had previously supported an increase in the debt ceiling under Trump.
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The Democrats in Congress on Wednesday condemned Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for threatening to oppose expanding US solvency, a move that could jeopardize US economic recovery if Congress does not acts.
Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters that President Donald Trump’s national debt skyrocketed as a result of the pandemic and a 2017 Republican tax bill that reduced the country’s tax revenues from large corporations. Debt grew by $ 7 trillion under the Trump administration.
“Now Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to pay the bills, we won’t allow him. He won’t be able to hold the economy hostage,” said Wyden. “We will act so quickly.”
Wyden said Democrats made no political demands in exchange for support for raising the debt ceiling while Trump was in office. He described McConnell’s move as a “stable ball”.
“Mitch McConnell is playing Russian roulette with this economy,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the second-tier Democrat in the upper chamber, told reporters.
The Kentucky Republican said in an interview posted on Punchbowl News Monday that Republicans would not get a deal with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, the legal limit the federal government can put to pay its bills.
McConnell said Democrats would have to do this through reconciliation alone, a legislative path that requires only a majority vote and therefore would be feasible without Republican support.
Wyden declined to respond to Insider when asked if it would be difficult to get all 50 Senate Democrats on board. Still, there were signs that the Biden government had no intention of making a deal with the GOP.
“We expect Congress to act in time to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, as it did three times in the last term on a broader bipartisan basis,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. Still, the Democrats have only decided how to raise the debt ceiling nine days before it expires.
“You have to decide what the strategy is, but I think getting Democrats on board will be easy,” Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, told Insider on Wednesday.
The US is expected to hit the debt ceiling on July 30, two years after the last extension. But the Treasury Department has the ability to settle US debts itself for a limited time and avert default with potentially catastrophic economic consequences.
The bipartisan congressional budget bureau forecast on Wednesday that the Treasury Department would “likely” run out of money sometime in October or November.
Other Democrats simply dismissed McConnell’s threat.
“‘Meh’ is my official answer,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a Democrat who supports a bill to remove the debt ceiling, in an interview. “Anyway, we do our business. That’s something Hill freaks out about every year or so. We will not negotiate, we will not admit anything, and we will not miss our work.