America's 'greatest deliberative body isn’t deliberating' in urgent debt ceiling talks: report

America's 'greatest deliberative body isn’t deliberating' in urgent debt ceiling talks: report

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many other economic voices have been warning that if the United States defaults on its debt obligations, it could trigger a major economic crisis — one that would have dire consequences not only in the U.S., but around the world. President Joe Biden has been trying to work out a budget deal in order to avoid that, yet many Republicans in Congress are hostile to raising the debt ceiling.

A budget bill has been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans have a narrow single-digit majority. But Biden dislikes the budget cuts being proposed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California). Meanwhile, economists fear that budget talks are moving much too slowly in the U.S. Senate.

In a report published by the Washington Post on May 3, journalists Liz Goodwin, Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell explain, "With as few as four weeks until the U.S. government could experience an unprecedented, catastrophic default, the world's greatest deliberative body simply isn't deliberating. The sleepy Senate is now playing a bit role in the battle over the debt ceiling, the statutory limit on how much the United States can borrow to cover its own expenses."

READ MORE: 'Blackmailers without a cause': Economist says House GOP just wants to 'watch things burn' in debt ceiling fight

Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, is sounding the alarm about the urgent need to avoid a debt default.

King told the Post, "We've got 20 days basically. I just hope people will come to their senses."

Sen. Jon Tester, a centrist Montana Democrat who is running for reelection in 2024, is nervous as well — telling the Post, "At the end, everybody's got to come together — or we're screwed."

On Tuesday, May 2, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that the House budget bill has "no chance of passing" in the Senate. And House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) argues that the Senate's hands are tied unless Biden and McCarthy can reach an agreement.

READ MORE: The debt ceiling and the dangers of an incompetent right

McConnell told the Post, "It should be clear to the (Biden) Administration that the Senate isn't a relevant player at this time. The sooner the president and the speaker get about it, the better."

READ MORE: 'Defaulting' on America's debt isn’t 'conservatism' — it's recklessly 'irresponsible': conservative

Read the Washington Post's full report at this link (subscription required).

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