Conservatives sharpen their spears for historic debt ceiling fight

On Thursday, the U.S. government was likely to reach its borrowing limit. This puts the new House Republican majority in an ideal position to reduce federal spending following an explosion in new debt during the COVID era.

The GOP majority gives them the power to decide how much or whether they want to raise the debt ceiling of $31.381 trillion by the summer. This is the time when the Treasury Department states it will require new borrowing authority. Republicans seem to have agreed to some degree on the idea of spending cuts to reduce the debt ceiling.

Kevin McCarthy, R.Calif., House Speaker, has said for weeks that he will insist on spending cuts. Behind him are several Republicans with different views on how to proceed. Representative Chip Roy from Texas has specific ideas, including the cap on fiscal year 2024 at fiscal year 2020 levels.

Roy stated in a radio interview on Tuesday that this idea was a “start”, and that the House should have a serious conversation about how to reach a balanced budget within 10 years. Then, “attach” it to the idea to raise the debt ceiling.

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Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona, stated that he won’t agree to a higher debt ceiling, even if Democrats or the Biden administration agree to drastic cuts. He said that the government has enough money.

Biggs tweeted Wednesday, “We cannot raise debt ceiling.” “Democrats have recklessly spent taxpayer money and devalued the currency. They have made their bed and must now lie in it.

At this point, there is no unified GOP position on debt ceiling. However, congressional aides said that Republicans will be meeting next week in order to develop a strategy. These meetings could set conditions that must be met before the House GOP majority agrees to a debt ceiling increase.

However, the GOP’s inability to agree on a position may not be a problem. Even though Republicans are sharpening their spears to prepare for negotiations on shrinking the $6.3 trillion federal budget, it was clear this week that the first battleground will be whether or not the Democrats send anyone to negotiate.

Biden’s administration has made it clear that the debt ceiling should be raised immediately without conditions. This follows the long-standing Democratic position that any default by U.S. would be an economic catastrophe. The debt ceiling should be raised immediately without any discussion or new commitments regarding how government spends money.

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, stated last week that failure to fulfill the government’s obligations could cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economic and financial stability.

The White House repeatedly stated this week that it does not believe there are any negotiations.

“As President Biden made clear, Congress must address the debt limit and must so without conditions,” White House press secretary Karinejean-Pierre stated Tuesday.

She stated, “We are not going to try to get around it; we’re certainly not going to negotiate about this.” “We’re not going to negotiate over the debt limit.”

Republicans are well aware of the dangers of having to deal with important, big issues at the last moment. Last year’s $1.7 trillion Omnibus Spending Bill was presented late, rushed to Congress and passed by House Democrats. This tactic Republicans have pledged to end under their majority. For now, Republicans want to ensure there is at least some back and forth.

McCarthy said that he would love to meet with all leaders, especially the president, and have discussions. “I believe that we can sit down together with anyone who wishes to work together.”

He said, “I want to be with him now so there’s no problem.”

Scott Perry, R-Pa. House Freedom Caucus Chairman, sees it in the same way. He believes that the best way for progress to be made is to get started talking now, before it becomes an emergency.

He said, “Let’s fight today to end the status-quo” on CNN in January. “Let’s enter the room now.”

In this debate about whether Democrats should negotiate, the larger fight over the debt limit will likely be stalled for several weeks. The summer won’t bring about a pressing need for action, so the Biden administration will likely use this time to convince the Democrats that the debt ceiling should not be reduced without conditions.

A consensus around the idea that negotiations is possible could be a factor in shaking up the status quo. Already this week, Republicans have seen support from Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia. In an interview with Fox News, he stated that bipartisanship was the only way forward and that he agreed with the GOP about the government’s spending problem.

He said, “We must work together.” I think we need to recognize that we have a problem. We have a problem with our debt. We have $31, and I believe $31.4 trillion of public debt. We’re merely saying, “Should we not all acknowledge how we got here, and how we can prevent going further?”