President Biden on Monday criticized Republicans for not voting to raise the debt ceiling, accusing them of “recklessness and danger” that could wreak havoc on the economy.
“Republicans not only refuse to do their job, but also threaten to use [the filibuster] to prevent us from doing our job – to save the economy from a catastrophic event, ”Biden said during a speech at the White House.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation that temporarily suspends debt caps. However, Senate Republicans said they would not vote to approve such a measure. Biden called the Republican position “hypocritical, dangerous and shameful.”
“Moreover, we are trying to get out of this pandemic,” Biden said.
“We don’t expect Republicans to do their part,” Biden said. “We tried unsuccessfully to ask. We just ask you not to use [the filibuster] to prevent us from doing work they won’t. “
Republicans argue that if Democrats want to rule alone – by trying to enact Biden’s Rebuild Better plan through a legislative process outlawing Republican obstruction – they will have to raise the debt limit on their own.
“The Republican position is simple. We don’t have a list of requirements, ”Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky Republican) wrote to Biden on Monday. “For two and a half months, we just warned that since your party wants to rule alone, it must also handle the debt limit on its own.”
Biden said he expected to speak to McConnell about the letter.
“We walked this road with him once,” Biden told reporters after his speech.
When asked if he could guarantee that the US would not default on its debt, Biden replied that he could not.
“This is the Mitch McConnell case,” Biden said.
But even in the midst of uncertainty, Biden said he could not “believe that this will be the end result, because the consequences will be so dire.”
“I don’t believe that,” Biden said. “But can I guarantee it? If I could, I would. But I can not “.
Raising the debt limit allows the federal government to continue to cover the debt it has already incurred, rather than future spending. The United States has never defaulted on its debts, even as party squabbles escalate.
Senate Republicans are pushing for Democrats to have enough votes to raise the ceiling through reconciliation, a robust process that requires a simple Senate majority. If all Democrats and two Independent Representatives support such a bill, Vice President Kamala Harris could interrupt the draw and put the bill on Biden’s table.
But Biden warned that reconciliation is “fraught with all sorts of potential dangers through miscalculation.” This is an incredibly complex and cumbersome process. “
This process allows for two sets of unlimited votes on amendments. The minority party usually uses the a-rama vote to force the majority party to take politically dangerous votes.
Republicans “must stop playing Russian roulette with the US economy,” Biden said. “Let’s vote and end the mess.”
Once the Treasury runs out of cash, payments to government officials, including military personnel, veterans, and social security recipients, are likely to be delayed. The default will also affect taxpayers.
“This Republican move could have a direct impact on saving your wallet,” Biden said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier that the ministry would run out of “emergency measures” to pay government debt on October 18. The federal borrowing limit is currently $ 28.4 trillion.
Experts warn that the US default will not only turn global markets upside down, but also threaten the American economy, which is likely to lead to a jump in the unemployment rate to 9%. Even waiting until the last minute to raise the limit “could seriously damage business and consumer confidence, raise the cost of taxpayer loans and negatively affect the credit rating of the United States for years to come,” Yellen wrote in an email last week. leaders of Congress.
Fitch Ratings on Friday warned that if the debt limit problem is not resolved “in a timely manner”, it will be forced to downgrade the AAA national credit rating.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) told Democrats on Monday that the debt-limiting measure should be on Biden’s desk by the end of this week.
In his speech, Biden tried to separate the debt limit and negotiating his economic agenda, emphasizing that the ceiling needs to be raised to pay for already approved spending, not plans for the future.
But following the conclusion of his speech, Biden also answered questions about the latest negotiations regarding infrastructure and social spending legislation.
The House of Democrats on Thursday did not put forward an infrastructure measure that would modernize roads, bridges and water pipes because it failed to reach agreement on a more costly proposal that would expand social safety nets.
Sensor Joe Manchin (DW.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) refused to back the spending bill, creating a stalemate.
Nevertheless, Biden was confident that he had made progress.
“I need 50 votes in the Senate,” Biden said. “I have 48”.
“This is a process,” he said. “We will do it”.