Democrats say debt limit impasse is ‘life and death for the economy’

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:03 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Democrats in Congress released a report with a potential debt default crisis looming. The report from the Joint Economic Committee says a Republican plan to cut spending would hurt Americans, though the GOP contends spending cuts are well overdue.

Republicans are asking for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit. Democrats call their proposed cuts dangerous.

“This is no political ploy. This is almost life and death for our economy and the difference between living a decent life and having a really rough time,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The group laid out what it claims would be the consequences of slashing government spending: millions of jobs lost, benefits disrupted, more expensive loans, and more. When asked about agreeing to potential spending cuts, Schumer said that debate should happen during the budget process, not during a debt ceiling standoff. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) saying Republican are not serious about handling this sensibly.

“What they are serious about is defaulting on our nation’s debt unless they can extract extreme cuts,” said Jeffries.

Republicans remain entrenched in the quest for cuts. Conservatives in the House are proposing slashing the Biden administration’s climate priorities, IRS funding, and student loan forgiveness. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) argues their plan is reasonable.

“It entailed wanting to cut wasteful, weaponized, and woke spending programs to get this nation back on track. That’s all it was,” said Biggs.

Democrats allege Republicans want to cut Medicare and Medicaid funding - a claim Republicans deny. Conservatives want to sit down and negotiate with Democrats to come to spending agreements before a vote to raise the debt limit.

“What’s causing all these problems is the fact that we’re not living within our means. That’s causing the problems. It’s not we want something good to happen with the debt ceiling,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

Congress has always voted to raise the debt limit, 49 times under Republican presidents, including three times under President Trump, and 29 times with a Democrat in the White House.