Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on Republicans’ obligation to show the American people their plan to end the threat of a first-ever debt default. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
House Republicans are struggling—struggling—to grasp the harsh reality about being in the majority: there’s no good substitute for having a plan. You can’t solve the nation’s biggest problems without a plan: a plan we can debate in Congress and which the American people can judge for themselves.
This is especially true—especially true—when it comes to the debt ceiling.
Later this afternoon President Biden will meet with Speaker McCarthy for their first one-on-one meeting of the year, and everyone is asking the same question of Speaker McCarthy: show us your plan. Where is your plan, Republicans? Where is your plan, Speaker McCarthy?
For days, Speaker McCarthy has heralded this sit down as some kind of major win in his debt ceiling talks.
But Speaker McCarthy is forgetting something obvious to everyone else: if you don’t have a plan, you can’t seriously pretend you are having any real negotiation. Let me say that again because it’s so crystal clear: Speaker McCarthy, if you don't have a plan, you can't seriously pretend you're having any real negotiation.
Speaker McCarthy showing up at the White House without a plan is like sitting down at the table without cards in your hand.
And look, we know why the Speaker has struggled and is unable to produce a plan—delaying it or avoiding it—he doesn’t have the votes for one, in all likelihood.
Some Republicans want Social Security and Medicare cuts. Others want to cut health care that Americans depend on through Medicaid. And at least one Republican said on raising the debt ceiling quote “I’m a no, no matter what.”
So Speaker McCarthy knows that it's next to impossible to pass a plan through his own house. Certainly he can’t do that. So Speaker McCarthy may claim he wants to negotiate but that is ultimately empty talk if the hard right has the power to reject whatever the Speaker proposes. It is a toxic dynamic that sadly isn’t going away anytime soon.
When President Trump was in office, I sat down with him to talk about the importance of raising debt ceiling, and we didn’t engage in threats or brinksmanship or hostage taking. Instead, we Democrats presented a plan and moved forward from there. It was not easy, it took a lot of preparation and tough decision-making, but each time, we got the job done.
So one more time: House Republicans, show us your plan! You have an obligation to be transparent with the American people and if you don't have the votes to pass a plan, let's just get the debt ceiling done.
And if the plan involves drastic cuts to millions of Americans, then Republicans have an obligation to show the American people what those cuts are. Because Americans could be faced with the very painful, painful results of those proposed cuts.
Republicans owe it—owe it—to the American people. Speaker McCarthy owes it to the American people to stop dodging, put pen to paper, and explain clearly how Congress is going to ensure the United States does not default for the first time in history.
We Democrats have a plan—raise the debt ceiling without brinksmanship or hostage-taking as it's been done before. Speaker McCarthy doesn't have a plan. So, he is not really negotiating. And the clock is ticking.