The Senate will hold hearings on the debt ceiling bill passed by the GOP-led House starting this week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on Monday.
In a letter to colleagues, Schumer made it clear his aim is not so much to pass the bill championed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) but rather to “expose the true impact of this reckless legislation on everyday Americans.”
Schumer said the Senate Budget Committee would hold a hearing Thursday on the “Default on America Act,” a mocking nickname for the legislation favored by the Democrats.
Schumer trashes McCarthy’s debt limit bill: “Beginning this week, our Committees will begin to hold hearings to expose the true impact of this reckless legislation on everyday Americans. On Thursday, the Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the Default on America Act.” pic.twitter.com/4diI17mYoQ
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 1, 2023
On Wednesday, House lawmakers narrowly passed the bill called the “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023,” which would suspend the debt ceiling through March 31, 2024, or until an increase in debt of $1.5 trillion — whichever comes first — in exchange for a host of spending cuts. The Congressional Budget Office projected the proposal would slash federal deficits by $4.8 trillion over ten years.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress in January that the United States had hit the statutory limit of roughly $31.4 trillion and advised that her agency take “extraordinary measures” so the government could continue to pay its bills, but only in the short term. Experts have warned of a default this summer that could cripple the U.S. economy without a deal to raise the borrowing limit for the federal government, which the Treasury Department says Congress has acted upon 78 times since 1960.
President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have insisted on a “clean” debt ceiling bill separate from any spending cuts or any policy concessions. In the run-up to the House passing a bill, Biden accused House Republicans of pushing the country to a default “unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have.”
During a press conference after the House vote, McCarthy dared Schumer to put an alternative debt ceiling plan to a vote, noting the House and Senate could go to conference if it passed, and the speaker challenged Biden to agree to talks. “Now, the president can no longer put this economy in jeopardy,” McCarthy said.
In his letter to colleagues, Schumer outlined various ways he argues the GOP plan would hurt Americans, including by clamping down on federal benefits and damaging the country’s “international standing by gutting funding for critical State Department programs and cutting-edge research facilities and sending jobs overseas.”
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The House GOP bill, Schumer wrote, “offers two choices: either default on the debt or default on America, forcing steep cuts to law enforcement, veterans, families, teachers, and kids. Democrats will not allow it.”