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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Calling Out Speaker McCarthy’s Non-Plan On The Debt Ceiling And Republicans Pushing The U.S. Towards A Catastrophic Default

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s repeated failure to show his debt limit plan and pushing the United States towards a catastrophic default. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today is the start of a consequential work period here in Congress, but instead of getting to work in our nation’s capital, House Republican leadership took a field trip to New York City. It was sort of a circus. Today’s big spectacle, of course, was Speaker McCarthy’s speech at the New York Stock Exchange, where he recycled the same old talking points but failed to provide anything new or anything of substance.

One thing is clear from this morning’s theatrics: while Democrats want to preserve America’s full faith and credit, Speaker McCarthy continues to bumble our country towards default, which would cause the economy to crash, cause jobs to crater, and drastically raise costs across the board for American families.

Amazingly, one of the few specifics Speaker McCarthy did present was his terrible idea to kick the can down the road for just a year, and undergo this same default crisis all over again a year from now.

Why would anyone agree to undergo this fiasco again next year? Give me a break.

I’ll be blunt: if Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, he is heading us towards default.

You know what will avoid default? Republicans working with Democrats to avert this crisis all together, just as we did under Donald Trump.

Speaker McCarthy in his speech invoked President Reagan. But Ronald Reagan was never reckless like Speaker McCarthy is being. In fact, it was President Reagan who said that “[Debt ceiling] brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits…The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations.”

And despite the Speaker’s stated concerns about costs, nothing—nothing!—would do more to raise costs for American families than default.

Now, for months, Speaker McCarthy has insisted on cuts in exchange for avoiding a default. We all know the best way to avoid default is no brinkmanship, no hostage taking. Do it clean, the way President Trump did it twice, with Democrats and Republicans working together, and President Biden did it once, with Democrats and Republicans working together. That’s the way to do this.

Now, Speaker McCarthy is insisting on cuts. But to boot, he doesn’t say what those cuts are! As I’ve said previously, there’s a time and place to discuss cuts, but that’s not part of this conversation. It belongs in the discussion about the budget, not as a precondition for avoiding default.  

Again, let me repeat that so they might hear it on the other side, in the House chamber: the discussion about cuts belongs in the discussion about budget, not as a precondition for avoiding default.

The solution here is straightforward: Republicans should work with Democrats in good faith to avoid default all together, just as we did with Donald Trump. No blackmail. No brinkmanship. No default. 

Speaker McCarthy: show us your plan! President Biden and I are happy to meet with Speaker McCarthy, when he has something to talk about, a plan. Most Democratic leaders are, but we need to see his plan first so we can start from there and work to avoid catastrophic default altogether.

If we go to meetings without Speaker McCarthy having a plan, what are we going to do? Talk about the furniture? The weather?

Finally, Speaker McCarthy today quoted a great Yankee, the great Babe Ruth saying: “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

Well first, Speaker McCarthy, don’t quote a Yankee to me in New York City!

Second: the Speaker is right, he’s never given up. However, that’s only because he’s never started. No plan, no progress, no persistence.

So to make sense of today’s speech, I think it was another great Yankee, the great number eight Yogi Berra who hit the nail on the head: “It’s déjà vu all over again,” Yogi said. It applies exactly to Speaker McCarthy’s speech today. No plan. No progress. Nothing.

Speaker McCarthy: show us a plan, work to deliver for the American people.

In sum, Speaker McCarthy plays a risky and dangerous game when insisting on imposing severe cuts, which would hurt the American people and threaten our economy—before we avoid default. In addition, to boot, he can’t even reveal what those cuts are.

If Speaker McCarthy—this is a sad truth but it’s a truth—if Speaker McCarthy doesn’t change his course, he could well take this country over the cliff to default for the first time.