Republicans Could Use Debt Limit To Force Social Security Cuts

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Politics

WASHINGTON — If Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives next month, they could hold the government’s credit hostage to force spending cuts ― including to programs like Social Security and Medicare. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other lawmakers said this month they’ll use the federal government’s “debt ceiling” to try to pry policy concessions from Democrats. “You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News in an interview published Tuesday. Advertisement“And if people want to make a debt ceiling [for a longer period of time], just like anything else, there comes a point in time where, OK, we’ll provide you more money, but you got to change your current behavior,” McCarthy said. “We’re not just going to keep lifting your credit card limit, right?”The debt ceiling is a legal limit on the amount of money that the federal government can borrow in order to pay for spending that Congress has already authorized. Raising the debt limit doesn’t create new spending, it just prevents the government from defaulting on its debts. A federal debt default would be unprecedented in modern times and could have catastrophic economic consequences. Republicans used it as leverage during the presidency of Barack Obama, but not when Donald Trump was president. Now that a Democrat is in the White House, debt ceiling drama is back. “The debt ceiling is the natural place from which you can operate to affect spending change,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told HuffPost earlier this month. AdvertisementThe Treasury Department has said Congress will have to deal with the debt ceiling again sometime next year, though the timing is imprecise because it depends on somewhat unpredictable fluctuations in federal revenue and outlays.Republicans threatened to block a debt limit increase last year, but 14 Senate Republicans ultimately voted in favor of allowing Democrats to raise the ceiling by themselves with a simple majority vote. Such an outcome would be much more complicated if Republicans control the House. Republican House members vying to chair the House Budget Committee in the event of a GOP House majority told Bloomberg Government that they would use the …

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