Debt limit impasse continues as conservatives double down on spending cut demands

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 4:35 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The U.S. continues to push ahead without a compromise on how to avoid defaulting on its debt. Members of Congress are trading barbs over how to approach the impending crisis. A group of conservative lawmakers is refusing to budge on the limit hike unless their demands are met.

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus spoke Wednesday about their demands in exchange for raising the debt limit. The U.S. Treasury is currently exhausting what it calls extraordinary measures to ensure the country does not default, but if lawmakers do not come to an agreement soon the U.S. could go over that cliff.

“Let’s have a conversation. These are some areas we can take some money back and save some money. Why don’t we have a conversation about that?” said Scott.

Scott and the other conservatives are pledging to block increasing the debt limit unless there are agreements to cut spending. They want to cap spending at 2022 levels, something Democrats argue would be dangerous.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) says the Freedom Caucus is asking for cuts on things like the president’s student loan forgiveness plan, climate tax credits, and IRS funding.

“In a country where the main driver of inflation is really one thing, and that is the out-of-control federal spending, this is an opportunity to turn back the clock on inflation,” said Biggs.

As Republicans are consistent regarding their belief in the need to cut spending, Democrats are consistent in their message that Congress always raises the debt limit without a hitch.

“It’s both reckless and clueless. Instead of calling for calm, House Republicans are sowing chaos,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Amid a near-banking crisis and high inflation, Democrats fear global economic chaos if the two sides do not agree to a simple bill raising the limit.

“The right answer is for Republicans in the House to stop saber rattling, drop the hostage taking and brinkmanship, and work together. Work in a bipartisan way, to extend the debt ceiling without strings attached,” said Schumer.

It is not clear exactly how long the Treasury can continue executing these measures before the country defaults on its debt. Some speculate these options could run out in the summer.