Washington D.C. – In the clearest sign yet that MAGA extremists in the House majority are calling all the shots, House Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) made a stunning declaration today about the looming debt default crisis: “I don’t see how we get there. And this is a marked change from where I’ve been. I don’t even see a path [to a debt ceiling agreement].” McHenry’s assessment follows a litany of economic ransom demands made by the House Freedom Caucus – one more extreme than the next – in exchange for not purposely tanking the economy. Their demands include deep cuts targeting everyday American workers, patients, and seniors while not touching trillions of dollars in wasteful tax breaks for billionaires and profiteering corporations. More troubling, Speaker McCarthy sent a letter to President Biden today echoing many of the Freedom Caucus’ non-starter proposals, even before publicly releasing their own budget proposal.

McHenry neglects to acknowledge the clearest and most responsible path forward. Only five House Republicans are needed to join with Democratic lawmakers to responsibly pass a clean debt limit increase to address the nation’s prior debt obligations and avoid catastrophic consequences for the economy, including “higher interest rates, a stock market crash, a recession and massive job losses.”   

 Putting Politics Before the Economy: Under the Trump administration, House Republicans worked with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling three times without cuts to vital safety net programs. A Washington Post analysis further found that under a Republican administration, an average of 65% of House Republicans and 74% of Senate Republicans voted in favor of adjusting or suspending the debt ceiling, but those numbers declined to 24% and 20%, respectively, under Democratic administrations. The U.S. Treasury projects the nation won’t be able to pay its bills as early as June.

MAGA extremists in Congress are making one unreasonable demand after another while imperiling our economy – including cuts that would explode seniors’ out-of-pocket costs, offshore U.S. manufacturing jobs, and raise health premiums by $800 on working families.

They insist that millions of Americans take on additional cost burdens while not asking profiteering corporations and billionaires to contribute a penny more. The House majority will have no one to blame but themselves for a default crisis, but it’s America’s working people and seniors who will really pay the price for their political games.”

Liz Zelnick, Director of government watchdog Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power program.
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