Rep. Andy Biggs And Freedom Caucus Oppose Debt Ceiling Raise

Rep. Andy Biggs And Freedom Caucus Oppose Debt Ceiling Raise

By Corinne Murdock |

On Tuesday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and the House Freedom Caucus spoke in opposition to Congress’ plan to raise the debt ceiling: the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA). 

Under the current plan, the debt ceiling would increase from $31.5 trillion to $36 trillion by 2025, with no cap in place. Without a raise in the debt limit by June 5, the government will be in default.

“Instead of estimating the actual debt ceiling that will be imposed by that date, January 1, 2025, they simply say that will be the date, there will be an unlimited cap,” said Biggs. “There won’t be a cap for 19 months of the Biden administration, and the Biden administration is probably the most profligate we’ve seen.”  

The national debt current growth rate is projected at over $4 trillion in new debt. Biggs forecasted an increase to $5 trillion by 2025. 

Biggs claimed that the version of the FRA agreed to under House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) would only delay, not prevent the IRS from hiring 87,000 new agents costing $71 billion. Biggs said these agents would not only be weaponized against taxpayers, but presented a significant financial burden.

Biggs further claimed that the FRA establishes Green New Deal tax credits and subsidies for the wealthy. He further criticized the PAYGO program, which would require government bureaucrats to justify how they would afford their expenditures; Biggs noted that a similar program already exists in Congress, yet that program hasn’t slowed spending. He added that Congress also already waives PAYGO provisions. 

“How come it is Republican leaders always tell us ‘next year we’ll fight hard’?” asked Biggs.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07) also opposed the FRA, but for different reasons. Grijalva expressed opposition to the FRA in his capacity as Democratic ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee. He argued that the FRA would jeopardize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

Watch the full press conference here:

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04) criticized the Senate for attempting to corner the House into approving their version of the funding bill.

“[The Senate is] sending us a giant omnibus bill the day before the government funding runs out, and saying, ‘Pass the Senate version or the House will be responsible for the shutdown,” said Massie. 

House Republican Conference leadership backs the FRA. The chairwoman, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) claimed the FRA would stop runaway inflationary spending, rescind executive overreach, and improve everyday Americans’ financial status. 

McCarthy also characterized the FRA as a win, adding that their version eliminates COVID-19 spending, prevents $5 trillion in new tax proposals, and enacts more work requirements for welfare recipients. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress in January that the U.S. had reached its statutory debt limit and would run out of funding sometime in early June. In a follow-up letter last week, Yellen specified the expiration date as June 5. 

She disclosed that her department would fulfill over $130 billion of scheduled payments in the first two days of June, including payments to veterans as well as Social Security and Medicare recipients. Yellen added that scheduled payouts would leave the Treasury unable to satisfy all its fiscal obligations. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Work Mandates In Welfare Are Already Proven To Be Good Public Policy

Work Mandates In Welfare Are Already Proven To Be Good Public Policy

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

There is a bitter fight brewing in Congress over work requirements for welfare recipients.

President Biden labeled “wacko” the Republican proposal in the debt ceiling bill to require able-bodied childless beneficiaries to either work, obtain job training, or do volunteer work. Our great uniter claimed, “Republicans are cutting benefits for folks they don’t seem to care much about.”

The welfare industry chimed in, saying poor people have no transportation options and job training was not available in some areas. Welfare recipients will be thrown into abject poverty if required to work, because apparently, they are incapable of self-sufficiency.

Reform advocates countered that not working is a choice and most people, including low-income people, have more satisfying lives when working and providing for their families.

So which side is correct? They can’t both be, and the answer is important to get right for the future of our nation.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could run an experiment, mandating work requirements in welfare programs to see what happens? Good news – that’s already been done.

In the 1990s, the Newt Gingrich-led Congress passed, and President Clinton, after extensive urging, signed a comprehensive welfare reform bill. The law required able-bodied adults to work or be in a job training program to receive benefits. It also placed lifetime limits on welfare.

By the 1990s, the War on Poverty had been waged for three decades. Many Americans were becoming disillusioned as they saw that poverty was winning.

LBJ’s welfare programs to wipe out poverty had been horrendously expensive and yet poverty levels hadn’t been dented. Instead, millions of low-income Americans had adopted welfare as a way of life, to be passed on through generations.

When the reforms were implemented, welfare recipients weren’t cast into the streets, as Senator Ted Kennedy had predicted. In fact, it was a stunning policy success. Welfare caseloads declined by 60 percent. 70 percent of those leaving began working.

There’s more. Government savings were $100 billion in today’s dollars. Best of all, the child poverty rate plummeted every year from 1994 to 2000.  For people leaving the welfare plantation, income increases soon easily exceeded welfare benefits. Moreover, people with jobs enjoyed healthier lives, better marriages, and vastly improved financial futures than those stuck on welfare.

So, welfare reformers declared victory and moved on, unfortunately leaving the same entrenched bureaucracy as before to manage the system. Before long, clients were again being evaluated for program eligibility, not work readiness. Workarounds were offered for those who preferred not to work.

As the bureaucracy oozed back into control, work mandates weakened. Many states quietly removed them altogether, as Arizona did for its Medicaid program.

With the onset of the COVID pandemic, the Biden administration took the opportunity to eviscerate work requirements altogether in federal welfare programs. Thankfully, grocery clerks, truck drivers and cops stayed on the job, but not teachers or welfare recipients.

Now that the pandemic has officially ended, work requirements still have not been reinstated as promised. In fact, Biden refuses to consider such a proposal in the debt ceiling negotiations.

The ending of the pandemic and work requirements have been a boon for the welfare industry. In response to COVID, Congress also increased the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) benefit amount and banned states from removing people who were no longer eligible from the Medicaid roles.

As a result, welfare has become more pervasive than ever. 40 million people are now receiving food stamps, even though it’s common knowledge that taxpayers are funding a lot of chips and soda. Medicaid enrollment has soared to 85 million, now that it has been expanded to include working age men above the poverty line.

There are up to 4 million employable adults not working while 10 million job openings are available. This is a great opportunity to get more Americans back to work, yet Democrats seem more interested in keeping Americans dependent on government than in reducing poverty.

We should absolutely have a working safety net, but not a welfare system that keeps Americans mired in poverty. Why not learn from our own history and return again to prioritizing work over welfare?

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.