WASHINGTON – President Biden on Monday criticized Republicans for not voting to raise the debt ceiling, accusing them of being “reckless and dangerous” in a way that could harm the economy.
“Republicans not only refuse to do their job, they threaten to use [the filibuster] to keep us from doing our job – saving the economy from a catastrophic event, ”Biden said during a White House speech.
The Democratic-controlled House last week passed a law that temporarily suspends the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans have said they will not vote to approve such a measure, however. Biden said the Republicans’ position was “hypocritical, dangerous and shameful.”
“Especially as we strive to come out of this pandemic,” Biden said.
“We don’t expect Republicans to do their part,” Biden said. “We tried to ask in vain. We just ask not to use [the filibuster] to keep us from doing the job they won’t.
Republicans argue that if Democrats are to rule on their own – trying to implement Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan through a legislative process that prohibits GOP obstruction – they will have to raise the limit themselves. debt.
“The Republicans’ position is simple. We don’t have a list of demands, ”Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Wrote to Biden on Monday. “For two and a half months, we have simply warned that since your party wants to govern alone, it must also manage the debt ceiling alone. “
Biden said he expected to speak to McConnell about the letter.
“He and I have taken this route once before,” Biden told reporters after his speech.
When asked if he could guarantee that the United States wouldn’t default on its debt, Biden replied that he couldn’t.
“It’s up to Mitch McConnell to decide,” Biden said.
But even amid the uncertainty, Biden said he couldn’t “believe this will be the end result because the consequences will be so dire.”
“I don’t believe it,” Biden said. “But can I guarantee it?” If I could I would. But I can not.
Raising the debt ceiling allows the federal government to continue to cover debt it has already incurred, not future spending. The United States has never defaulted on its debts, even amid heightened partisan bickering.
Senate Republicans insisted Democrats have enough votes to raise the cap through reconciliation, a filibuster-proof process that requires a simple majority in the Senate. If all Democrats and two independents support such a bill, Vice President Kamala Harris can break the tie and lay the bill on Biden’s desk.
But Biden warned that the reconciliation is “fraught with all kinds of potential dangers for miscalculation. It is an incredibly complicated and cumbersome process.
The process allows for two rounds of unlimited amendment votes. The minority party generally uses the “vote-a-rama” to force the majority party to take politically perilous votes.
Republicans “must stop playing Russian roulette with the American economy,” Biden said. “Let’s vote and end the mess. “
Once the Treasury Department runs out of cash, payments to government employees, including the military, veterans, and Social Security recipients, would likely be delayed. A default would also affect taxpayers.
“The savings in your wallet could be directly affected by this Republican coup,” Biden said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously said the department would no longer have “emergency measures” to pay off the country’s debts on October 18. The federal borrowing limit is currently $ 28.4 trillion.
A US default would not only upend global markets, but put the US economy at risk, likely pushing the unemployment rate to 9%, experts have warned. Even waiting until the last minute to increase the limit “can seriously damage business and consumer confidence, increase borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact America’s credit rating for years to come.” come, ”Yellen wrote last week in a letter. to the leaders of Congress.
Fitch Ratings warned on Friday that if the debt limit debacle was not resolved “in a timely manner,” it would be forced to downgrade the country’s AAA credit rating.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) told Democrats on Monday that a debt ceiling measure was to be on Biden’s desk by the end of this week.
During his remarks, Biden sought to decouple the debt limit showdown from negotiations over his economic program, stressing that the cap must be raised to pay for spending already authorized, not future plans.
But after finishing his remarks, Biden also answered questions about the latest talks about infrastructure legislation and social spending.
House Democrats on Thursday did not put forward an infrastructure measure, which would improve roads, bridges and water pipes, as a deal could not be reached on a more expensive proposal that would expand safety net programs.
The senses. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Withheld their support for the spending bill, creating a deadlock.
Still, Biden was convinced he was making progress.
“I need 50 votes in the Senate,” Biden said. “I have 48.”
“It’s a process,” he said. “We are going to do it.”
© 2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.