Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats on Wednesday a short-term solution to avoid having the U.S. default on its debt, which would tank the economy.
McConnell noted in a statement that Senate Republicans have warned Democrats for nearly three months that they would need to use the reconciliation process to raise the debt limit because Republicans do not support Democrats’ extreme agenda.
“Instead, they drifted to the doorstep of yet another self-created Democrat crisis,” McConnell said. “Whether through miscalculation or a deliberate effort to bully their own members into wrecking the Senate, top Democrats have risked adding a default crisis to the inflation crisis, border crisis, and Afghanistan crisis they have already created.”
McConnell offered a short-term suspension of the debt ceiling for several weeks to avoid sending the country into default. This offer will also force Democrats to pass a permanent solution on their own when the suspension ends in December.
“Republicans remain the only party with a plan to prevent default,” McConnell continued. “We have already made it clear we would assist in expediting the 304 reconciliation process for stand-alone debt-limit legislation. To protect the American people from a near-term Democrat-created crisis, we will also allow Democrats to use normal procedures to pass an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount to cover current spending levels into December.”
“This will moot Democrats’ excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation,” the statement added. “Alternatively, if Democrats abandon their efforts to ram through another historically reckless taxing and spending spree that will hurt families and help China, a more traditional bipartisan governing conversation could be possible.”
McConnell’s offer to help Democrats get out of the difficult situation that they have created for themselves comes after Biden has tried to blame Republicans for the problem, even though Democrats control the White House and Congress.
Most economists say that a U.S. default would spell economic calamity, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday that she would “fully expect” a recession if that happens. Biden echoed her on Wednesday, saying that default would “lead to self-inflicted wounds that risk the market tanking and wiping out savings and costing jobs.”
McConnell sent a letter to Biden this week warning that the U.S. was “sleepwalking toward significant and avoidable danger because of confusion and inaction from the Speaker of the House and the Senate Democratic Leader concerning basic governing duties.”
“Since mid-July, Republicans have clearly stated that Democrats will need to raise the debt limit on their own. All year, your party has chosen to pursue staggering, ‘transformational’ spending through unprecedented use of the party-line reconciliation process,” the letter said. “Democrats inherited bipartisan trends from COVID relief to appropriations but have chosen to govern alone. Even now, with Americans already facing painful inflation, Democrats are preparing another staggering taxing and spending spree without any Republican input or support.”
“Bipartisanship is not a light switch that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer may flip on to borrow money and flip off to spend it. Republicans’ position is simple. We have no list of demands. For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wishes to govern alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well,” the letter continued. “As you and I know from shared Senate experience, this is not unusual. The debt limit is often a partisan vote during times of unified government. In 2003, 2004, and 2006, Mr. President, you joined Senate Democrats in opposing debt limit increases and made Republicans do it ourselves. You explained on the Senate floor that your ‘no’ votes did not mean you wanted the majority to let the country default, but rather that the President’s party had to take responsibility for a policy agenda which you opposed. Your view then is our view now.”
McConnell said that Democrats refused to take responsibility for the situation and use reconciliation because “this relatively brief process would inconvenience their floor schedules.”