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6 in 10 say spending cuts should accompany increase in debt ceiling: poll

President Joe Biden meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., to discuss the debt limit in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Sixty percent of Americans say an increase in the debt ceiling should come with spending cuts, according to a poll conducted as Republicans in Congress and the White House negotiate how to prevent a default on the nation’s debt.

The CNN poll, released Tuesday, found six in 10 Americans say Congress should only lift the debt ceiling if it also cuts spending. 

Twenty-four percent said Congress should raise the debt ceiling “no matter what,” while 15 percent said Congress should not raise the debt ceiling “and allow the US to default on its debts.” 

The Treasury Department has warned that lawmakers have until June 1 before it runs out of ways to hold off default, which Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen and others have warned would mean economic catastrophe

The CNN poll’s results differ from a recent NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist national poll that found most respondents support lifting the debt ceiling and addressing spending cuts separately. 

Nearly three-quarters of Americans in Tuesday’s CNN poll said they think not raising the debt ceiling would cause either “major problems” (45 percent) or a “crisis” (26 percent). 

Most Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents report concern that “Democrats will give up too much and important government programs will no longer be funded,” while most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they’re worried that “Republicans will give up too much and government spending will continue at its current level.”

President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have been meeting for negotiations ahead of the looming deadline, as Republicans push for a borrowing limit increase tied to spending cuts and the White House urges a clean increase.

Conducted May 17-20, the CNN poll surveyed 1,227 U.S. adults and had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points. 

Tags debt ceiling debt ceiling negotiations Debt limit Janet Yellen Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy

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