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To get away with their cruelty, congressional Republicans are counting on the rest of us either misunderstanding what the debt ceiling is or not paying close attention because it sounds wonky.
- It is normal — and helpful for the economy — for the government to spend more than it raises in taxes. To cover the difference, the government borrows money.
- For no good reason, Congress imposes a limit on the total amount the government can owe to lenders. That’s the debt ceiling.
- When the government approaches that limit, it MUST raise the ceiling. There is no choice but to borrow more to meet existing obligations. Not meeting those obligations would lead directly to a global economic disaster.
Yesterday, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy announced that Republicans intend to exploit the necessity of raising the debt ceiling to demand absurd, destructive things like slashing government spending, blocking new regulatory safeguards, and worsening climate chaos by expanding fossil fuel production in the U.S. to further enrich Big Oil.
And — because why stop at absurd and destructive when you can add in cruel as well, I guess? — the GOP wants to impose draconian work requirements on millions of Americans who are on Medicaid or who get food stamps.
In other words, deny health care to people who are in poor health or who have disabilities that make it hard for them to work.
Tell the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress:
There’s negotiation and then there’s extortion. Do not allow Kevin McCarthy and congressional Republicans to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage. Do not allow them to exploit the debt ceiling to impose draconian work requirements on food stamp and Medicaid recipients or to force through their other absurd and destructive spending cuts.
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- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen