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.
Another FBI watchlist terrorist was apprehended crossing the border, this time one day after Title 42 ended.
The terrorist came from Pakistan and was apprehended in Ajo, according to information provided by unnamed federal sources to The Washington Examiner. The terrorist was captured within a wave of around 700 illegal immigrants crossing in the area.
There has been a significant increase in terror watchlist apprehensions under Biden. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) disclosed on Wednesday that they’d apprehended 16 terrorists along the border in April alone — more than the total apprehensions from the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 fiscal years combined.
According to data from December, terror watchlist arrests have increased over sixfold since Biden took office.
So far this fiscal year, there have been over 1.4 million southern border encounters. That’s nearly 134,000 more encounters than from the same time span from the last fiscal year (October 2021 through April 2022).
That brings the total border encounters under President Joe Biden to over 5.6 million.
The average of these encounters totals over 201,000. If that average sustains through the remaining 21 months of Biden’s first term, there may be over 9.8 million illegal immigrant encounters by the end of next year.
Under former President Donald Trump, there were a total of over 2.3 million encounters. There may be four times as many illegal crossings by the end of Biden’s first term.
Despite the continued onslaught of the border crisis, Arizona’s Democratic leaders have been hesitant to fully back proposed remedies.
Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) last week supported the termination of Title 42, but criticized the Biden administration’s lack of action on meaningful immigration reform and infrastructure.
“While the specific needs and requests of each border community varied, one similarity was clear: the administration has not done enough to meet their needs, and these local officials require additional resources, personnel, and funds to ensure our border stays secure and that the processing of asylum seekers is done in a humanitarian way,” stated Gallego.
That same day, Gallego issued another statement dismissing his Republican colleagues’ border proposals as an unserious “sham” perpetuating “cruel” Trump-era policies. The proposals included detainment of unaccompanied children, and restricting asylum outside of legal ports of entry.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07) complained last August that too many Americans were caught up in the border crisis to notice the religious disrespect of illegal immigrants. Specifically, Grijalva complained that border agents were confiscating illegal Sikh immigrants’ religious items, such as their turbans and bracelets.
“All these festering issues get overwritten because everybody starts screaming about the border and the invasion, and so these go into the background,” said Grijalva. “I don’t think they’re background issues. Border Patrol is the largest law enforcement agency with the least amount of accountability in the country. And that’s the problem.”
Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Engel supported ending Title 42 last year as part of her prior, failed campaign, and denied the existence of the border crisis.