Republican Study Committee chairman Kevin Hern of Oklahoma is urging his colleagues to pass debt ceiling legislation by the end of the April legislative session, the Daily Caller has learned.
Although the U.S. government is expected to hit the debt ceiling at some point in July, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden have only met once to discuss raising it. Instead, the two leaders have exchanged dueling public letters, leading to concern among some members of Congress. Republicans are calling for cuts to domestic spending, while Democrats are demanding a clean debt limit.
Hern is promoting the Republican Study Committee’s budget blueprint, which is intended to balance the federal budget within 10 years. It cuts entitlement spending, reforms the tax code to encourage family formation, and expands domestic carbon energy production. The RSC’s debt ceiling playbook, released in January, urges cuts to discretionary spending while promoting similar energy policies and adjustments to the tax code.
“The debt limit talks we have had to date have been invaluable. But the time for discussion is coming to an end. The time for action is now,” Hern wrote Wednesday in a letter to RSC colleagues, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. “In just five days, House members will return to Washington. Passage of a strong debt limit bill before the end of the April legislative session must be the chamber’s top priority.”
“Remember, voters fired House Democrats for a reason. They are sick of the persistent hardships inflicted by Democrats’ excessive spending and oppressive policies. They gave us a mandate: tame inflation, deliver affordable energy and a strong economy, stop spending their children’s future away, and rein in the woke and weaponized government. The American people deserve no less,” he added.
Both Biden and McCarthy have agreed that programs like Social Security and Medicare will not be reformed as part of a debt ceiling negotiation, despite the fact that entitlements made up 46% of the federal budget in 2022. As part of his negotiations with 20 holdouts during the speaker election, McCarthy agreed to cap the FY2024 budget at 2022 levels, even though that could lead to steep cuts in defense spending.
With House Republicans and Biden still miles apart in negotiations, some Democrats have suggested using a discharge petition to circumvent party leadership and raise the debt ceiling. Moderate Republicans like Don Bacon of Nebraska have publicly rejected the move, however. (RELATED: Trump Says GOP Should Not Cut Social Security As Part Of Spending Deal)
The House Ways and Means Committee passed legislation in March that would require the federal government to prioritize principal and interest payments on debt and Social Security and Medicare in the event that Congress does not raise the debt ceiling. Economists and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have criticized the legislation, arguing that it would nevertheless constitute a default.
If the federal government does not raise the debt ceiling, the U.S.’s credit rating would likely be downgraded and the stock market could crash. The credit rating agency S&P last downgraded the U.S.’s credit rating in 2011, when Congress nearly failed to raise the limit.