Congressman: Debt Ceiling Battle Is about Government Interference in Daily Life
After a Tuesday meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), President Joe Biden agreed to streamline negotiations on the debt ceiling by deputizing close advisors to communicate directly. “Now we have a format, a structure,” said McCarthy, although he said the two sides remain far apart with only days before a June 1 deadline. “What we’re trying to do is end the wasteful use of dollars,” Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) said on “Washington Watch,” that “funds the very tyranny of government that’s undermining our liberty and undermining our way of life.”
For negotiations going forward, Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) will represent House Republicans, while presidential advisor Steve Ricchetti, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell will represent the White House. President Biden will also cut short a seven-day trip in Asia next week, returning home early in hopes of reaching a deal.
This agreement represents a small step forward from the impasse revealed at a May 5 discussion, after which McCarthy said he “didn’t see any new movement.”
“What you’re seeing right now is the product of a united Republican front in the House of Representatives,” said Roy. Additionally, 43 Senate Republicans signed a letter of solidarity with House Republicans, enough to filibuster any bill Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tries to advance unilaterally. “The White House is shaking. They recognize that they have overreached for three months,” insisted Roy.
Biden previously said he would only consider a clean debt ceiling increase without tying it to spending cuts. “They’ve been saying that they weren’t going to sit down at the table. Guess what they’re doing? They’re sitting down at the table,” Roy pointed out. “Because they recognize that, in a system of divided government and a system of separation of powers, the president is obligated to sit down.”
While the clock is ticking, McCarthy said, “it is possible to get a deal by the end of the week. It’s not that difficult to get to an agreement.” He added, “if this was where we were in February, I’d be very optimistic.”
“President Biden knows that he and he alone will make the choice to default — if there is default,” argued Roy. “There is no need to. We have a cash flow to pay our debts. We have the cash flow to manage Social Security. The president is playing games. So is Yellen. So we’re calling their bluff. We’re trying to be responsible stewards of taxpayer money.”
“The House Republicans have acted responsibly,” agreed Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch.” “They’ve passed a bill, the Limit Save Grow Act. The normal process would then [be] for the Senate to take up the bill and do something with it. But the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, is just continuing to say that the Republicans are holding the nation hostage, but he’s done nothing.”
“That’s kind of the order of business right now by our Democratic colleagues,” responded Roy. “They want to bury their head in the sand. They want to ignore the reality that the environment that they have created is decimating the American family, [causing] inflation, destroying our way of life, targeting our ability to have affordable energy.”
That environment amounted to governmental tyranny, said Roy, which Americans see “every single day” and “in all aspects of life.” From the DOJ targeting pro-life activists like Mark Houck and investigating outraged parents like Scott Smith as domestic terrorists, to the State Department’s collaboration to outsource decision-making for Americans’ health care to the World Health Organization, to the Biden administration redefining women-only spaces to admit males, Roy said, “the reckless spending … funds the very tyranny of government that’s undermining our liberty.”
“I think you put your finger on why they’re opposed to this,” Perkins remarked. “This limits their ability to impose their agenda on the American people.” “And they’re fighting back,” said Roy. “They recognize that we’re actually identifying the problem. … The average American is sick and tired of having a government that is weaponized against them.”
By contrast, the Limit Save Grow Act “lifts the debt ceiling,” explained Roy, but in return it “restricts the overall size and scope of the federal bureaucracy … stops the expansion of the IRS, stops the use of the student loan money bailouts … and, importantly, ends the fat cat tax subsidies going to corporations to advance the Green New Deal agenda.”
“I want a culture of life that protects people from conception all the way until they leave this world,” Roy added. “We can do that if we stop having the government interfere with it.”
Roy didn’t believe the negotiations would bear fruit immediately. “I think he’s going to sit at the table, and he’s going to come back with a weak offer,” he said. “I expect and hope that Kevin McCarthy will hold the line and say, ‘Nope, we’ve already sent our bill across. [The] ball’s in your court. You want to move forward, bring us something serious.’” Roy also wanted Republicans to “keep upping the ante” in the negotiations. “We need to restore common sense in America, restore the obvious right and wrong.”
Perkins agreed Republican negotiators were likely to hold the line. “I’ve never seen the Republicans more united,” he said.
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.