Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight ‘a ridiculous position to be in’
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, on Sunday called the U.S. debt ceiling crisis “a ridiculous position to be in.”
“We have several options for raising the debt ceiling, which is absolutely, absolutely mandatory,” Yarmuth said while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ve never defaulted on our debt in history. This is really kind of a ridiculous position to be in. We’re the only country in the world that has a debt ceiling that works like this.”
Yarmuth also criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for “running around Kentucky taking credit for a lot of the spending that is now requiring us to raise the debt limit.”
Host Chris Wallace noted that McConnell recently said Republicans are united in their opposition to raising the debt ceiling.
“Mitch just said that every Republican in the United States Senate was prepared to vote to have the federal government default. That’s what he said. … I think that’s a violation of the constitutional oath,” Yarmuth said. “It would be financial havoc if we actually defaulted.”
The White House has warned that the U.S. could default on its debt within a month, marking the first time in history. Republican lawmakers have said that they will not act to keep the U.S. solvent, but Democrats and the White House have ramped up the pressure in hopes they will help avoid a default.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said a vote on raising the debt ceiling will come in the coming week as well as a vote on funding the government past Sept. 30. Hoyer has not specified whether these two measures will be combined.
Wallace noted on Sunday that combining the two would essentially have Republicans vote in favor of shutting down the government. Yarmuth said that he would prefer to have the two measures voted on separately.
“I personally would like to see a clean vote on a debt ceiling so that Republicans actually have to go on the record on that vote only and not mix it with a funding measure, but ultimately the most important thing is to get both of them done,” said Yarmuth.