Chuck Schumer Walks Over Kevin McCarthy On ‘ABC Sunday’

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As the U.S. faces the imminent need for leaders in Congress to raise what is known as the debt limit, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appeared on ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning and sharply criticized the idea from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of taking that step alongside cuts to spending.

In terms of basic definitions, the debt limit doesn’t provide for new spending. Rather, it formally allows the U.S. government to meet financial obligations it already incurred, like payments associated with Social Security and military salaries. The Biden administration has an updated webpage at the Treasury Department about the seriousness of what’s at stake, outlining how failing to legislatively address the debt limit as needed could “precipitate another financial crisis and threaten the jobs and savings of everyday Americans – putting the United States right back in a deep economic hole, just as the country is recovering from the recent recession.” What would metaphorically dry up across the economy in that situation? It’s not exactly a promising possibility to consider.

Schumer rhetorically blasted what he termed brinkmanship in discussions among members of Congress about raising the debt limit. “First, the bottom line is that we never did what McCarthy is doing,” Schumer asserted. “Brinkmanship, holding hostage… Four times Democrats, even when Trump was in power, even two times when Trump and the Republicans had the House and Senate, we could have blocked it. We did not play brinkmanship. We have never played brinkmanship on this issue. In one instance, did we do a budget proposal alongside a debt ceiling proposal? Yes, but there was no brinkmanship.”

The Democratic leader in the Senate also addressed the possibility of Republicans pursuing cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare to fulfill the push for lowering government spending with the leverage made available by the need for both chambers, including the GOP-led House, to agree to action on the debt ceiling. During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last week, Republicans reacted harshly to the idea they were threatening programs like those, but facts are facts! Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), in an interview evidently conducted in the days after the speech, once again pushed the notion of privatizing the federal program. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who got roughly one-fifth of Senate Republicans to back his push to lead Senate Republicans’ conference, is still sticking to his plan for forcing the potential end to all federal legislation after five years unless reapproved by Congress, which could pointlessly threaten the initiatives.

“We have a position. We have a clear position,” Schumer said Sunday. “Do it clean. Do it without brinkmanship. Do it without this risk of hostage-taking where things could blow up because as you know, if we don’t renew the debt ceiling, average American families will be clobbered… So, it’s risky. Now, McCarthy says he wants to attach certain spending cuts to do this. A, where is your plan, Mr. McCarthy? He says he wants cuts. We ask him which ones. He won’t say any. Is it Social Security and Medicare? That would hurt the American people… He says it won’t [be those programs getting targeted], but a lot of other people in his caucus still say it will. Will it be police? Will it be the military?.. He will not even say what he wants to cut, and I’ll tell you why. He can’t pass a plan with cuts. His hard-right will demand the kind of deepest cuts that his more mainstream Republicans won’t vote for… We’re going to win this fight, and it’s going to be a clean debt ceiling.”