Finance

Trump: McConnell must use debt limit to crush Biden agenda

Former President Trump on Tuesday urged Senate Republicans to use the federal debt limit as leverage to defeat President Biden’s social spending and climate bill.

In a Tuesday statement, Trump berated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and insisted he should prevent Democrats from raising the federal debt ceiling by any means necessary. 

“Old Crow Mitch McConnell, who is getting beaten on every front by the Radical Left Democrats since giving them a two-month delay which allowed them to ‘get their act together,’ must be fully prepared to use the DEBT CEILING in order to totally kill the Democrat’s new Social Spending (Wasting!) Bill, which will change our Country forever,” Trump said.

Trump has fiercely criticized McConnell for weeks after the minority leader cut a deal with Senate Democrats in October to raise the federal debt limit. His latest barb comes as McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) hold discussions over another deal to avert a default by the end of the month.

With days until the U.S. was expected to default, McConnell and 10 other GOP senators voted to break a filibuster on a bill to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion. That vote allowed Democrats to pass the measure along party lines with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris.

Trump and several GOP senators have ripped McConnell for blinking after Republicans vowed for months to block any Democratic attempt to raise the federal debt limit. While both parties previously voted against debt ceiling hikes over politics, the Senate GOP’s recent refusal to allow a vote under regular order on a debt limit increase is unprecedented.

Trump has also expressed fury with Republicans who backed a bipartisan infrastructure bill under Biden after the former president repeatedly failed to strike such an agreement during his term.

“Mitch and the Republican Senators had them beaten, but didn’t know it, and we ended up with the Unfrastructure Bill, which is only 11% infrastructure. Worse, he allowed a splitting of the Bills (with 19 votes, including himself), which makes the Dems path for the even worse Bill a much easier one,” Trump said.

“Use the Debt Ceiling, Mitch, show strength and courage. Our Country is being destroyed,” he added.

McConnell and Senate Republicans have insisted that Democrats must raise the debt ceiling on their own through budget reconciliation, the process Democrats plan to use to pass Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. Republicans have tied their refusal to raise the debt ceiling to the Democratic proposal, which would add less to the deficit than the bipartisan infrastructure bill supported by 19 GOP senators.

Democrats can raise the debt ceiling over GOP objections by passing a budget reconciliation resolution, which can pass with only simple majorities in each chamber. To do so, Democrats would have to raise the debt ceiling to a specific number — instead of suspending it until a future date — and face a marathon of politically and legislatively tricky votes.

Budget experts say it would take Democrats about two weeks to raise the debt ceiling through reconciliation, and doing so would still allow the party to pass Biden’s bill along party lines through a separate measure. But Senate Democrats have refused to do so, saying it would take too much time and set a dangerous precedent for future standoffs.

Schumer and McConnell have said little about their debt ceiling discussions but are believed to be talking about ways to expedite raising the limit through reconciliation or another short-term deal to avert a default.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers last week that the U.S. is unlikely to default before Dec. 15 but could miss debt payments for the first time in history by the end of the month without action to raise the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling does not directly affect future spending levels but allows the Treasury to pay expenses approved over several decades by both Democratic and Republican presidents by selling bonds.

The U.S. has never been allowed to default on its debt. Experts warn that a U.S. debt default would trigger a domestic recession and cause chaos in global financial markets given the U.S. dollar’s importance to world commerce.

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Janet Yellen Joe Biden Mitch McConnell

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