Republicans to declare debt a national security threat in House, Senate resolutions

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Thursday are slated to introduce companion resolutions declaring the national debt a threat to the country's national security.

The introduction of the resolutions comes just days ahead of Congress's March 2 debt limit deadline.

The resolutions note that the total outstanding public debt surpassed $22 trillion in February with total interest exceeding $192 billion for fiscal year 2019.

They call on Congress to return to regular order, adding that a balanced federal budget hasn’t been signed since 1997.

“Congress has failed to maintain a fiscally responsible budget and has typically relied on raising the debt ceiling,” they state.

Perdue said in a statement that the debt is the “single greatest threat to our national security” arguing lawmakers need to come “to grips with that reality.”

“Ultimately, the debt impacts our ability to fund priorities, like providing our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to protect Americans,” he said. “This debt crisis will only get worse, and if we don’t act now, our country will lose the ability to do the right thing.”

Biggs, meanwhile, said he and Perdue felt the need to introduce the resolutions in their respective chambers because the country is “racing towards a fiscal cliff.”

“If we do not change our course, we will be responsible for one of the worse catastrophes this nation has ever experienced: the crash of the American economy and the demise of a superpower. I thank Senator Perdue and my colleagues for their leadership on this issue,” he said in a statement.

Despite the looming deadline, one Democratic aide told CNN that discussions on how to handle debt ceiling just started in recent days.

"Conversations on the debt ceiling are at their very beginning phases right now," the aide told the network.

The lack of urgency could be attributed to the lack of risk of immediate default, with the Department of Treasury “using extraordinary measures” to keep the government funded through mid-summer, according to estimates from the Bipartisan Policy Center.