On Debt Limit, Democrats Are Sleepwalking Toward Another Avoidable Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the debt limit:

“I want to begin today with a quotation.

“‘Because this massive accumulation of debt was predicted, because it was foreseeable, because it was unnecessary, because it was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamentals of economic management, I am voting against the debt limit increase.’

“That was then-Senator Joe Biden in March of 2006. Right before every single Democratic Senator voted against raising the debt limit and made a unified Republican government do it alone.

“Here’s another quotation: ‘Today's fiscal mess… is the inevitable outcome of policies that consistently ignored evidence and experience… My symbolic vote against raising the debt limit would have been a protest of the policies that have brought us to this point, and a demand that we change course.’

“The same speaker, then-Senator Biden, two years earlier in 2004.

“As Senate Republicans have made clear since July, and as I reminded the President in a letter this morning, his sentiments then are our sentiments now.

“Now, for the last few weeks, Washington Democrats tried to forget that they lined up to oppose debt limit increases during united Republican government. They pretended these votes are always bipartisan.

“Well, that was false. So now our colleagues have moved on to yet another new argument that is equally flimsy.

“Now they claim they’d be perfectly happy to handle this responsibility with 51 votes done one way… but they’d rather risk the nation’s credit than do it with 51 votes a slightly different way.

“I’m not kidding. This is their position. The President said it today. The reconciliation procedure would be slightly more inconvenient.

“A few more days. A few more votes they’d rather duck. The Democratic leaders running America are saying with a straight face that the entire U.S. economy should live or die based on the procedural convenience of Washington Democrats.

“They have no problem re-using the party-line process over and over to spend trillions and transform the country. But now, for this purpose only, they suddenly and mysteriously find it unappealing.

“Democrats could not be more capable of handling this on their own. Just months ago, the Democratic Leader won new powers to re-use reconciliation over and over. They don’t even need our consent to set a vote at 51 instead of 60. They need even less help raising the debt limit than majorities needed in the past.

“Trust me, Madam President, if Republicans were sitting on a hidden veto power to stop reconciliation bills, you would have heard about it back in the springtime.

“The majority doesn’t need our votes. They just want a bipartisan shortcut around procedural hurdles they can clear on their own. And they want that shortcut so they can pivot right back to partisan spending as fast as possible. They want a bipartisan shortcut to get right back to more partisan hardball!

“And Republicans have spent two and a half months explaining they will not get it.

“This unified Democratic government is having trouble governing. They couldn’t even pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill which the President negotiated and the Speaker of the House promised would pass last week.

“The majority needs to stop sleepwalking toward yet another preventable crisis. Democrats need to tackle the debt limit. We gave them a road map and three months’ notice. I suggest that our colleagues get moving.”