The House of Representatives is slated to vote Wednesday on a standalone measure to raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 16, 2022, despite Senate Republicans vowing to block the measure.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to members of her caucus on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reiterated her calls for Congress to act on raising the federal government’s borrowing limit.
Republicans in both chambers have repeatedly called on Democrats to raise the debt limit on their own using the reconciliation process, arguing that they won’t support raising the ceiling to allow Democrats to pursue “inflationary spending” as they gear up to move forward on a sweeping social spending bill.
“Today, the House plans to move forward to honor its responsibility to protect the American economy and American families from the catastrophe of a default by passing legislation to suspend the debt limit,” Pelosi wrote.
“Thank you for the great unity and patriotism demonstrated with last week’s vote on lifting the debt ceiling and on a Continuing Resolution to keep government open and avoid a devastating shutdown.”
The California Democrat cited economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and the Joint Economic Committee’s warnings of the “catastrophic” long-term impact that defaulting on the nation’s debt would have on the economy and financial markets.
“The consequences of not lifting the debt ceiling include: Economist Mark Zandi of the nonpartisan Moody’s Analytics predicted that a default would trigger a global market panic similar to the 2008 financial crisis, which could result in a loss of six million jobs, an unemployment rate of nearly 9 percent, the elimination of $15 trillion in household wealth and a decline in real GDP of 4 percent,” the letter said.
Her comments come after the Senate voted down a continuing resolution to keep the government funded that included language to raise the debt limit earlier this week. And while Republicans have argued that it would provide a green light for Democrats to go on a spending spree, Democrats have argued that it is necessary to pay for the previous administration’s spending, noting that the debt limit was raised on a bipartisan basis twice under Republican control.
“The debt limit has long been a bipartisan issue. Congress has addressed the debt limit 78 times since 1960: 29 times with a Democrat in the White House and 49 times under a Republican president. More recently, since 2011, each of the seven times that the debt limit was addressed, Congress did so on a bipartisan basis,” Pelosi continued.
“This includes three times under the last Administration, when Democrats cooperated. Only three percent of the current debt has been accrued under President Biden. As you know, addressing the debt limit is not about future spending,” she said. “This is about meeting obligations that the government has already incurred, including from the bipartisan COVID relief legislation passed in December, with the support of dozens of Republicans including Leader McConnell.”
While Democrats’ efforts in the House are expected to be shot down in the Senate, leaders have been weighing their options on how to best proceed, with members floating using the reconciliation process, passing a bill putting the responsibility of raising the debt limit into the hands of the Treasury secretary and potentially moving forward with a trillion-dollar coin, which would not require congressional approval.