Senate poised to raise debt limit by $2.5T, avoiding default

Congress is moving to lift the nation’s debt limit by $2.5 trillion

For months, Republicans have used debt limit increases to sabre-rattle about Democrats’ big-spending social and environmental agenda while pledging to staunchly oppose any efforts to increase in the debt limit.

In striking a deal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backtracked on his past words. But he also got much of what he wanted: an arrangement in which Democrats have to take a politically difficult vote with no Republican support while increasing the limit by a specific dollar figure that is sure to appear in future attack ads.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hailed the agreement, which will allow Democrats to pass the bill without the threat of a Republican-led filibuster.

“This is about paying debt accumulated by both parties, so I’m pleased Republicans and Democrats came together,” the New York Democrat said on the chamber’s floor Tuesday.

McConnell, meanwhile, used the occasion to attack Democrats for their “socialist spending spree.”

“If they jam through another taxing and spending spree this massive debt increase will just be the beginning,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Yet Republican arguments against debt limit increases often ignore inconvenient facts.

The nation’s current debt load of $28.9 trillion has been racking up for decades. Major drivers include popular spending programs, like Social Security and Medicare, interest on the debt and recent COVID-19 relief packages. But taxation is also a major factor, and a series of tax cuts enacted by Republican presidents in recent decades has added to it, too.

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