Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on Speaker Kevin McCarthy traveling to Wall Street to threaten a catastrophic default unless Republicans get spending cuts and radical hard-right policies. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Preserving the full faith and credit of the United States is one of the most important responsibilities that members of Congress face. It requires cooperation, bipartisanship, and leaders who can instill confidence and calm to the markets and working families alike.
But I cannot think of a worse message to send to the world than for Speaker McCarthy to travel all the way to New York, look Wall Street in the eye, and threaten that the U.S. will default on its debt unless Republicans get spending cuts first.
Why the Speaker traveled all the way to New York to give a speech that offered nothing new in substance or concept but the same dangerous message—different than we’ve done in the past—is beyond me.
If Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, the U.S. is likely headed towards default.
But you know what will avoid default? Republicans working with Democrats to avoid this crisis altogether, just as we did under Donald Trump.
Now, the Speaker has insisted for months on cuts, though he has failed to offer any clarity about what kind of cuts Republicans want. House GOP Leadership is presenting their wish-list to their members at a closed meeting this morning.
No one should confuse this wish-list as anything more than a recycling of the same bad ideas we’ve heard about for weeks, and it’s still not clear that Speaker McCarthy has the votes to even pass this. Indeed, a handful of House GOP members insist they won’t raise the debt ceiling for anything, not even a GOP wish-list.
One of the few specific items is the Speaker’s laughable suggestion—and it is laughable—that we avoid default for only a year, ensuring that this dangerous crisis repeats itself in twelve months. Why the Speaker thinks anyone—anyone! —would agree to have another debt ceiling crisis next year is beyond me.
Nobody is saying that there cannot be a conversation about what kind of cuts Republicans want, but it doesn’t belong in this debate—plain and simple. It belongs in discussions over the budget that Congress has every year, and not as a precondition to avoiding default.
So let me make this easy for my Republican colleagues—don’t bother with partisan wish-lists and unrealistic proposals that will never solve this debt default crisis.
Instead, we avoid default using the same approach we did under President Trump twice and under President Biden once: Democrats and Republicans working together, without preconditions. If Republicans agree to that, there will be no default.