Biden, Republicans make little progress on debt ceiling as default nears
The 118th Congress is approaching its 100 day mark. So far, they haven’t made much if any progress on their two most important responsibilities – the debt ceiling and the budget.
The United States government hit the debt ceiling, or the maximum amount of money it’s allowed to borrow to pay bills, on January 19th. The Treasury Department is taking what it describes as extraordinary measures to avoid a default, but that will only last until June or July. Congress must increase the debt limit before that.
Republicans want a debt increase to coincide with spending cuts.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy: “In the next ten years Americans will pay $10.5 trillion just on the interest on our debt. Now to put that into perspective, since 1944 until today, Americans have paid only $9 trillion in interest. “
Republicans say they want to negotiate with Democrats and President Biden to reach a bipartisan solution. But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries says he doesn’t see a clear path forward because Republicans have not released a budget proposal, while Democrats support the plan the President released March 9.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.: “The Republican budget plan is in the witness protection program. It’s in an undisclosed location. The extreme MAGA Republicans are hiding their plans from the American people. In that kind of situation how can we reasonably have a conversation?”
But while there’s a great deal to do on finances, Congress has had a couple bipartisan victories in its opening months. Lawmakers unanimously approved a new law to declassify information related to Covid’s origins. President Biden signed it and the information should be made public within the next 90 days. They also overturned the DC Crime bill which would have lowered penalties for serious felonies like carjackings.
Now along party lines, House Republicans are happy they passed what’s called a parental bill of rights, which allows parents to get more information about their child’s school curriculum and the books in the school library. While Senate Democrats want to continue confirming President Biden’s judicial nominees at a record pace. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.