FLASHBACK: Schumer Warned Neither Party Should ‘Play Games’ With Debt Ceiling, Called For Negotiations

[Screenshot MSNBC Hardball With Chris Matthews]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned in 2011 that neither party should “play games” with the debt ceiling and called for negotiations, a stark contrast to his current stance on the debate.

Republicans passed a bill that would raise the debt ceiling to prevent a default while also cutting spending and enacting reforms. President Joe Biden and the Democrats have rejected the proposal, instead arguing for a debt increase without conditions. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is slated to meet with Biden on May 9 to discuss the debt ceiling.

Schumer joined MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” in 2011 to discuss then-debt ceiling talks.

“The basic ideas, we’re focused on the middle class and what they need. We know we have to reduce the deficit,” Schumer said. “We’re not denying that. But we also know we have to grow this economy to create jobs and protect our middle-class folks in their older age, after they have worked hard. And I think the contrast couldn’t have been drawn better by the president. I think, for the first time in a while on these budget fights, we have the high ground.”

Schumer added Democrats have shown that “we’re willing to cut the budget.” (RELATED: ‘Would It Kill You To Just Do Something?’: CNBC Host Tears Into Dem Over Refusal To Negotiate With Republicans On Debt)

“Are the Republicans in the Senate going to ask the Democrats to pass the debt ceiling by not using the filibuster, saying, you guys have got over 50 votes; use them?” Matthews asked.

“Well, look, I think neither side should play games with the debt ceiling, because it’s so vital. We ought to come together like grownups and come somewhere in the middle,” Schumer said. “We Democrats believe that we have met them part of the way. We have heard the message that we need to cut waste, inefficiency, and even some programs that are good, but maybe have outlived their usefulness.”

Schumer has criticized Republicans’ proposal to raise the debt ceiling, calling it a “hard-right ransom note to the American people” and saying “Democrats will not allow it.”