President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet again today with congressional leadership to discuss issues involving the debt ceiling. The president has accused Republicans of "literally, not figuratively, holding the economy hostage by threatening to default on our nation's debt."
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, says this should not even be an issue.
"At some point the debt ceiling will increase," she tells AFN, "and in exchange for that increase we as the American taxpayer should have some spending cuts and some changes to the budget so that we don't just keep spending so much money so that we're constantly, nonstop, having to raise the debt ceiling."
The stated deadline for an increase in the debt ceiling is June 1.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott told the Republican Jewish Coalition last November that party leaders "routinely" cave to President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Perhaps that is why some GOP moderates believe very little of the existing debt ceiling plan – dubbed "Limit, Save, Grow" by the party – will survive.
Biden's refusal to negotiate on the matter shows a complete reversal and extreme hypocrisy from a time that he was involved in these proceedings in a different role, House Republican Mike Johnson said this week.
Regardless what happens next, there was no fear and trembling from House Republican Andrew Clyde, who represents Georgia's 9th District, when he was a guest on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins this week.
"We're not going to back down from this. I think Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy's going to hold the line here. He should hold the line. We've created a fantastic plan. The Limit, Save, Grow plan … limits federal spending to Fiscal Year 22 levels and with no more than a 1% increase over the next ten years. That will save $4.5 trillion to our debt," Clyde said.
Arguments … then unity
It appears the contentious fight that led to McCarthy's election as speaker has instilled Republicans with resolve.
"I think we can go back to the speaker's fight here where we achieved transformational change in the way Congress operates. That united the Republican conference more than anything I've ever seen," Clyde said.
"I told Speaker McCarthy at the end of his acceptance speech, 'This shows that we as Republicans can fight in a united fashion, and this should terrify the White House. It should terrify the Senate because we have the purse, we have the checkbook – and we are united in this effort.'"
The two sides must reach an agreement before midnight on Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
Clyde took offense with comments from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who said House Republicans were being unreasonable and impractical and deserved blame for threatening a shutdown.
"Republicans have the plan, we've presented the plan, and I don't think the press secretary knows what she's talking about. We have done our job. They need to accept that, and they need to sign on and support it. That's the responsible thing to do," Clyde said.
Senate Republicans: 'We've got your back'
House Republicans were strengthened last week when Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced a group of 43 senators had signed a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing a collective commitment to oppose raising the debit ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms. Those 43 Republican "no" votes would leave the top Senate Democrat short of the 60 required to end a filibuster.
"The senators, I applaud their efforts. I thank Mike Lee for leading it, and I thank Sen. Mitch McConnell for getting on board, and all of them need to get behind this plan that Speaker McCarthy has laid out. We Republicans are united in the House in this effort. This is what needs to … this is the right thing for America," Clyde said.
The plan proposes to grow the economy by adding work requirements for welfare recipients. It also cuts IRS spending, would require student loans to be repaid by the borrowers, eliminates Green New Deal tax credits, and claws back unspent money previously designated for COVID-19 relief.
"Those are immediate cuts to federal spending which are absolutely required for us to be fiscally responsible," Clyde argued.
Student loan debt alone would remove $465 billion in spending, New Green Deal tax credits another $271 billion.
The plan also has a key point that doesn't appear in the title, which is language designed to place limitations on the president's use of executive orders. Clyde calls it the "reign" – as in "reign in" – part of Limit, Save, Grow.
If Republican leadership surprises some inside the party by playing hard ball, it could lead to the third government shutdown in the last ten years.
A shutdown would affect most non-essential government services. For example, Social Security checks would still be mailed – as Americans would still receive mail – but new Social Security cards would not be issued. Likewise, VA medical facilities and clinics would remain fully operational though national parks and monuments would likely close.
One side will have to give in if the shutdown is to be avoided, but neither House Republicans nor Biden have shown willingness to soften their positions.
The hypocrisy of Biden's position
"You have to remember President Biden himself used to lead these negotiations in 2009 and 2011. He was with the Senate then, of course, and he called the negotiations a normal process," House Republican Mike Johnson said on Washington Watch. "In 2011, he said 'You have to have a compromise. You can't go in with the 'my way or highway' approach.'
"Of course, that's exactly what he's projecting right now. It's terribly hypocritical but more importantly than that, it's dangerous. The president has to negotiate with us. The House has done its job, and we need him to come to the table."
In addition to record-high inflation, Biden policies have led to supply-chain shortages and instability in the banking system, Johnson said.
As Biden holds his ground, he's flat-out lying – according to Johnson – when he says House Republicans want to cut veteran benefits.
"He made that up out of thin air … and to his credit, Speaker McCarthy called the president on it in the Oval Office and said, 'Mr. President, that is a lie. Show me the language in the bill.' It doesn't exist. Of course, the president himself hasn't seen the bill. He's reading some talking points somebody handed him," Johnson said.
Biden's lifetime in government – a career that touches parts of six decades – has been spent in negotiation. The fact that he refuses to negotiate now is an untenable position, Clyde said.
"I think they're going to push it to the very end, but they don't have to. They could do the right thing for the American people this very week," said the Georgia Republican. "We know there's not going to be a blind debt ceiling increase. That's not going to go through the Senate, it's not going to go through the House. The president just needs to understand that and negotiate with Speaker McCarthy."