Amid debt ceiling debate, GOP lawmaker says party made promises

Amid debt ceiling debate, GOP lawmaker says party made promises

Amid debt ceiling debate, GOP lawmaker says party made promises

The U.S. House could vote on a bill to raise the debt ceiling as early as next week and at least one Republican insists his party understands the financial promises made to voters.

That’s what Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Oklahoma) told Tony Perkins on Washington Watch this week. House Republicans, he told the radio program, have a mandate to get spending under control.

“The American people want to see us do what they elected us to do in November, which is lead on this issue,” he said.

A limit for debt the government can incur is not in the Constitution, but it has a deep history, going back to legislation that allowed Congress to issue bonds to pay for US participation in World War I in 1917.

Many Americans opposed the idea of going to war as an ally of Great Britain, and the debt ceiling became a method to move the bonds bill.

In subsequent years the ceiling was raised. It was raised again, and soon it became routine.

House speaker Kevin McCarthy mentioned the debt ceiling in his Wall Street speech Monday.

“Let me be clear. Defaulting on our debt is not an option, but neither is a future of higher taxes, higher interest rates, more dependency on China and an economy that doesn’t work for working Americans,” McCarthy said.

When Congress convened in January, former president Donald Trump urged House Republicans to stay away from Social Security and Medicare in the debt ceiling debate.

Maybe Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer was thinking of Trump’s comments and not the current state of proceedings when he responded from Washington to McCarthy’s remarks in New York.

“Sen. McCarthy plays a risky and dangerous game when insisting on imposing severe cuts which would hurt the American people, raise our prices and threaten our economy before we avoid default,” Schumer said.

Social Security, Medicare not part of bill

Hern told Perkins that neither Social Security nor Medicare are part of the debt ceiling bill.

“Work requirements are (a part), something that President Bill Clinton, a Democrat did, back in 1996, restoring those work requirements that were so effective in having budget surpluses for four years in a row leading up to the technology bubble that we had in 1991,” Hern said.

Republicans have also leaned on a younger Democrat for ideas.

“Also in the bill we actually borrowed an idea from Joe Manchin, the Democrat senator, where we’re talking about rolling back spending to 2022 (levels), looking at sort of the pre-COVID numbers, capping that and allowing it to grow at 1 percent a year for 10 years. This is all part of that,” Hern said.

In March, President Joe Biden celebrated a 5% inflation rate as a strong sign for the economy though gas prices are rising again, and consumers should expect to continue to pay high prices for food.

“The Democrats in their spending, especially the last Omni-bill they passed last fall, created the debt crisis that we’ve seen since January 2019. I put out a letter that said every big spending change has occurred when we’ve had a debt limit debate, and so here we are,” Hern said. “We’ve gathered a lot of information from our members. The leadership has done a great job of listening to all voices. Now’s the time to put together a bill, get it on the floor and vote on it next week.”

For Hern and many Republicans there’s an urgency in the timing of getting the bill to the floor.

“What we’re seeing right now is in the Senate, we’re seeing the criteria leak out, and now we’re even having Republican senators push back on things such as work requirements without even fully understanding what’s going to be in the potential bill going forward,” Hern said.

Hern doesn’t share the President’s optimism for the economy and believes instead that Americans continue to feel the impact of higher costs for home energy, fuel and food.

Time for Biden to see a debt ceiling House vote

However, he believes the time is right for Biden to see a debt ceiling bill reach the floor for a vote.

“This president has lost touch with reality, and quite frankly he has said one thing and done the other so times … ,” Hern said.

In early March Biden upset some Democrats when he announced he would not veto a House resolution to overturn a Washington, D.C., crime reform law if the resolution were to pass the Senate.

Congress has the authority to overturn D.C. legislation, though it’s rarely done. In response to Biden’s announcement the D.C. city council pulled the bill which would have reduced sentencing on many felonies.

“The Republican crime bill he said he would never support, and he did,” Hern said. “The president needs to see a debt limit bill put on the floor, get it voted on by 218 Republicans, have it sent to the Senate and have the Democrats tell the American people why they want to continue to spend and jeopardize the futures of their kids and grandkids.”