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ADRIAN SMITH: The looming cliff

ADRIAN SMITH: The looming cliff

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This week the House of Representatives passed a bill which would raise the debt limit to allow unlimited new spending through most of 2022 and provide short-term funding for the government until December 3. The bill, which was passed on a party-line vote, now heads to the Senate without a bipartisan agreement in place to ensure passage. Meanwhile, Democrats’ primary focus remains their arbitrary deadline to ram through President Biden’s expansive tax and spending package. These factors are quickly colliding with economic reality.

Avoiding default and averting a government shutdown are in the best interest of our nation. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to negotiate with Republicans. It defies the purpose of the debt limit to simply allow the federal government to continue borrowing more money without doing anything to address the drivers of our deficit and debt. I also oppose suspending the debt ceiling for more than a year because doing so provides the time and spending capacity for Democrats to focus on more than $5 trillion in new federal spending.

The debt ceiling serves as a reminder we are spending money we do not have and has regularly provided an opportunity for Congress to achieve bipartisan budget reforms addressing runaway spending. For example, in 2012, the debt ceiling provided the needed lever to bring forward the first bipartisan budget reform in a generation, reducing the annual federal deficit every year from 2012 through 2015. By attempting to push it into late 2022, the Democrats are acknowledging their first and only priority is the expansion of government, regardless of cost.

We are now less than a week away from a government shutdown which can only be avoided through bipartisan and balanced compromise – something Democrats have known was coming since January. It appears Democrats are set to spend their weekend trying to agree among themselves which tax increases to pay for their $3.5 trillion Green New Deal package, rather than making any effort to find a bipartisan solution to address spending and keep the government open. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer fully control what bills come to the floor. President Biden controls what gets sign into law. Averting a government shutdown depends on them deciding to seek out a bipartisan and balanced solution to these issues, and there is no sign they have any plans to do that.

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