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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On House Republicans’ Default On America Act Taking The U.S. A Costly Step Backwards Toward Catastrophic Default

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on House Republicans risking default and taking a step backwards by passing the Default on America Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, House Republicans passed, through the narrowest possible margin, a bill that amounts to little more than a hard-right ransom note to the American people.

Republicans’ Default on America Act, DOA, cannot possibly be called a real “plan” for resolving the default crisis. The DOA reads more like a threat coming directly from the House Freedom caucus: either Republicans will force a default on the debt, or they will force steep cuts—highly unpopular with the American people—for law enforcement, veterans, families, teachers, kids.

Let’s be perfectly clear: the Republican Default on America Act does nothing to actually resolve the looming debt crisis, and it has no hope of ever becoming law. If anything, the Houses’ actions have made the likelihood of default more likely. It locks the House into an unacceptable position, and pulls us even further apart.

And this shows the real solution is a clean, bipartisan plan to avoid default. It is the same one both parties have adopted many times before. That is the solution, not this Default on America Act that is going nowhere. If Republicans want to sell this terrible agenda to the American people, they should make their case in talks about the budget and appropriations, where it belongs, not by using the full faith and Credit of the United States as a hostage.

So let me say that again: the Republican Default on America Act does nothing to resolve the default crisis, and in fact makes it only more likely. The Default on America Act, which the House just passed, is not a step forwards but rather a costly step backwards.

Speaker McCarthy has claimed for months that he wants to negotiate on avoiding default. But according to reports, he is saying the opposite behind closed doors.

Per at least one GOP House member, Speaker McCarthy called this radical bill “a floor, not a ceiling.” That’s what he told the hard right members whose votes he needed. The Speaker has reportedly promised his right flank that, moving forward, he will oppose any measure that doesn’t have every single hard-right priority considered in this bill. In other words, to say this bill is a “floor, not a ceiling” is a threat to make the GOP bill even more extreme and avoid any alternative.

If these reports are true, then Speaker McCarthy has made clear he has no intention of negotiating. The Speaker can’t say his bill is a “floor, not a ceiling” and also claim he wants to negotiate. This is rather a hostage-taking tactic, and this Default on America act is the ransom note, forced on us by a hard-right, unrepresentative, small group in the House of Representatives who had leverage because of the rules there.

The GOP should realize that the American people will reject steep cuts to education, law enforcement, veterans’ care, and border security that their DOA bill proposes.

So for all the effort the GOP spent trying to pass their bill, unfortunately we are not any further along to resolving the debt ceiling crisis, and if anything we have taken a costly step backward.

It all brings us back to the place where we have been since the very beginning: the only real solution to avoiding a catastrophic default is the same solution that both parties have adopted in the past: come together for a clean plan to avoid default, with no ransom notes, no “floors”, no brinkmanship.

Democrats will not allow this Default on America Act to become law.