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.