Is Sen. McConnell right to oppose debt ceiling increase?

Gage Skidmore

Fact Box

  • On September 28, 2021, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, informing her Congress must “raise or suspend the debt” limit by October 18 or “the full faith and credit of the United States should not be put at risk.” 
  • On October 6, 2021, Mitch McConnell released a statement on the “Democrats self-created debt limit crisis” saying, “Whether through miscalculation or deliberate effort to bully their own members to wrecking the Senate, top Democrats have risked adding a default crisis to the inflation crisis [...].” The statement also reveals Republicans are offering “an emergency debt limit extension at a fixed dollar amount” that will carry the government through December. 
  • Days prior to this statement, on October 4, McConnell said on the Senate floor, “The majority doesn’t need our votes. They just want a… bipartisan shortcut around procedural hurdles they can actually clear on their own. And they want that shortcut so they can pivot right back to partisan spending as fast as possible,” and, “Republicans have spent two and a half months [...] explaining that this is the way they needed to go forward on the debt ceiling. This unified Democratic government is having trouble governing.”
  • Through the powers of budget “reconciliation,” Democrats could unilaterally raise the debt limit, allowing them to bypass the 60-vote filibuster barrier.  
  • The US national debt, as of October, surpasses $28 trillion.

JessiRae (No)

Senator McConnell is determined to deny raising the debt ceiling to bail out the United States Government. Without raising the debt ceiling, America will default on its loans, effectively shutting Congress down. However, in 2008 during the Bush Administration. McConnell raised the debt ceiling to prevent the same from happening.

As Senate Minority Leader, McConnell's duty is to represent constituents' interests. Denying raising the debt ceiling endangers the people from losing the direction and funding of critical problems from the government. Former GOP treasury secretaries are attempting to convince McConnell to reconsider his position. As of this writing, McConnell has not budged on his stance.

The current Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, states neglecting to pay the government's bills spells a 'catastrophic' disaster. Both democrats and republicans must agree to raise the debt ceiling to pass debt relief. Though some Republicans are in favor of raising the debt ceiling, the majority of republicans are taking McConnell's stance. 

McConnell claims all republicans 'are united in opposition to raising the debt ceiling.' McConnell serves his own interests in avoiding paying the republicans portion of the $28 trillion debt. The senator expects the democrats to foot the bill independently. In most cases, both democrats and republicans are tasked with paying down US debt. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a government shutdown stagnates instrumental pandemic relief procedures. In response, the government incurred unexpected expenses, creating the necessity of raising the debt ceiling. With rising COVID-19 related deaths, the United States needs its government now more than ever.

Curtice (Yes) 

Washington DC is again embroiled in the heated debt-ceiling debate. Presently, the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. Conversely, the GOP has very little leverage to slow down or hinder the Democrats' seemingly reflexive urge to spend, disregarding the fact that we have already spent nearly as much money as the entirety that exists in the US.

With the debt ceiling debate currently going on in Washington, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are using one of the few tools in their presently very slim toolkit to try to get some concessions from Democrats on their spending and societal remaking free-for-all. Government spending has long passed the point of being comprehensible. Hence, the talk in Washington of $3.5 trillion in spending clearly shows how our governmental betters aren’t aware of how economics works, and that they’re playing around with ‘economic ruin.’ Much of the Build Back Better proposal is, as Republicans have called it, Green New Deal Waste. Even the New York Times has referred to it as a 'cradle to grave social safety net.'

While the debt ceiling debate isn't specifically related to the BBB legislation, McConnell's uncompromising stance on the debt ceiling does offer a chance to reign in 

some, but not all, of the Democratic spending and tax increase goals. 

The national debt continues to rise. According to the World Bank, the tipping point for a country is when the debt-to-GDP is 77% or above. The US debt-to-GDP in the third quarter of 2020 was 127%. Ultimately, the debt will have to be paid by future generations, and that is enough to pump the breaks on this whole endeavor.

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