House Republican says he’s working with Democrats on ‘fail-safe’ option for debt ceiling

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is seen during a press conference on Friday, August 12, 2022 to discuss the FBI seizing documents from former President Trump’s Mar-a-largo home earlier in the week.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said on Sunday that he is working across the aisle on a bipartisan solution on the debt ceiling as lawmakers brace for bitter negations in the coming months over the nation’s finances.

Fitzpatrick, who heads the Problem Solvers Caucus with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), said the two men are working on a backup plan if the White House and House Republicans can’t reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling should it come with conditions that involve certain spending cuts.

“We’re going to let them do their work,” Fitzpatrick told anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “We don’t want to undermine anybody. But what Josh and our group do together is, we don’t negotiate in public. We work everything out. We have a fail-safe option in the backdrop that will be ready to go to make sure that we get this job done.”

Biden and McCarthy met last week to kick off discussions about the debt ceiling, which the Biden administration wants Congress to raise to avoid a default. Some conservative Republicans have signaled they want spending cut agreements in return, but the administration has been cool to that idea.

Fitzpatrick said his proposal would convert the debt ceiling to a ” debt-to-GDP ratio,” which would be a “number that could be agreed to” and would have a cure period, which is time a borrower, in this case the U.S., has to remedy a default. He said if the cure doesn’t occur, “certain guardrails go up on discretionary spending.”

“We have two problems right now,” he said. “We have a risk of default. We cannot allow our country to default under any circumstances. We also have a debt-to-GDP ratio that exceeds 100 percent.”

“And that threatens the valuation of our currency and risks our competitiveness with China, and we see how big of a threat that is. So that’s the solution that I would like to advance. As Josh mentioned, we have a group that’s working day and night on this right now,” Fitzpatrick added.

Tags Biden Biden Brian Fitzpatrick Brian Fitzpatrick debt ceiling Jake Tapper Josh Gottheimer Kevin McCarthy McCarthy

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