As yet another debt ceiling negotiation hangs over Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brushed aside concerns of a financial crisis as a result on Thursday.
McConnell told reporters in Kentucky that he is not worried about the situation and added that he is confident the U.S. government will never default on its debt obligations.
In his remarks to reporters after an event at the University of Louisville, he said, “No, I would not be concerned about a financial crisis.”
“I think the important thing to remember is that America must never default on its debt. It never has, and never will,” he added.” McConnell said he was certain that “some kind of negotiation with the administration” would raise the debt ceiling again.
Even though McConnell did not hint at making any effort to curtail the White House and Congressional Democrats in the unprecedented spending that has occurred in the last two years, he blithely said increasing the debt limit is “always a rather contentious effort.”
McConnell’s comments came after Joe Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote to congressional leaders to warn that “extraordinary measures” are being implemented this week to manage federal debt obligations. Yellen also said that unless lawmakers raise the debt ceiling, the accounting maneuvers she has in mind will stop working no later than early June. At that time, the U.S. could go into default on debt repayments.
Yellen said that the date she laid out as a deadline in her letter, June 5, is subject to “considerable uncertainty.” She warned that forecasting federal revenues and payments in the intervening months could be inaccurate.
The current federal debt limit of $31.4 trillion was hit on Thursday.
Despite McConnell’s unconcerned attitude about increasing the ceiling, the White House and Democratic leaders have said that nothing other than a “clean debt ceiling increase bill” is up for even being discussed.
In contrast, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said that the House will only pass a bill to increase the debt limit with significant discretionary spending cuts. He indicated the cuts could include defense spending.
McCarthy reiterated on Tuesday that the House would not pass a “clean” debt limit increase under any circumstances.
Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer wrote checks the American people can’t pay. Then they worked with Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi to pass the problem to @HouseGOP.
I will not sign off on a clean bill raising the debt ceiling limit! pic.twitter.com/Kne73d73Cp
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) January 19, 2023
The status of the federal debt ceiling has become a regularly recurring issue since Congress first put it in place in 1939. While the ceiling was intended to limit the growth of the federal government, it has been ineffective. Instead, Congress has treated the limit as little more than a speed bump by disconnecting the budgeting process from the debt ceiling.
As a result, the “spend now, pay later” so-called budgeting process will have lawmakers negotiating at the edge of a cliff again until the last possible minute.