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Biden Blames Trump, GOP for Not Raising Debt Ceiling

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President Joe Biden (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

( – President Biden on Monday blamed Republicans for refusing to work with Democrats and raise the debt ceiling on past debt incurred during four years of the Trump administration.

“There’s a cap on what we can borrow, called the debt limit and only Congress can raise or lower that debt limit,so let me be really clear. This is really important to know. Raising the debt limit is about paying off our old debts. There is nothing to do with any new spending to being considered. Nothing to do with my plan for infrastructure or building back better, zero, zero – both of which I might add are paid for,” he said.

“So if we’re going to make good on what’s already been approved by previous Congresses and previous presidents and parties, we have to pay for it,” the president said, adding that raising the debt limit is usually bipartisan “and it should be.”

“That’s what’s not happening today. The reason we have to raise the debt limit is in part because of the reckless tax and spending policies under the previous Trump administration. In four years, they incurred nearly $8 trillion. In four years, $8 trillion in additional debt and bills we have to now pay off. That’s more than a quarter of the entire debt incurred now outstanding after more than 200 years,” the president said.

“Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president. Each time with Democrat support, but now they won’t raise it even though they are responsible for more than a trillion dollars in bills incurred in four years under the previous administration. That’s what we’d be paying off,” he said.

Biden said that defaulting on debt “would lead to a self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff and risks jobs and retirement savings, Social Security benefits, salaries for service members, benefits for veterans, so much more.”

“A failure to raise the debt limit will call into question Congress’s willingness to meet our obligations that we’ve already incurred – not new ones – we’ve already incurred. This will undermine the safety of U.S. Treasury securities, and it will threaten the reserve status of the dollar as the world’s currency, that the world relies on,” he said.

Not only that, but the president said, “American credit rating will be downgraded, Interest rates will rise for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, borrowing.”

Biden accused Republicans of refusing to raise the debt limit “to cover their own spending.”

“Democrats voted with them to cover that spending – the previous four years. They say Democrats should do it alone, but then they’re threatening to use the procedural power called the filibuster, meaning that we have to get 60 votes, not 50 votes to increase the debt limit,” the president said.

“This would block the Democrats from meeting our obligations and responsibilities to prevent Congress from raising the debt limit. Let’s be clear. Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job. They are threatening to use their power to prevent us from doing our job, saving the economy from a catastrophic event,” he said.

“I think quite frankly it’s hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful. Their obstruction and irresponsibility knows absolutely no bounds, especially as we are clawing our way out of the pandemic. Democrats will meet our responsibility and obligation in this country,” Biden said.

He urged Republicans to “get out of the way” and let Democrats “save the country” from financial calamity, which he compared to “meteors headed to crash into our economy.”

“We are just asking them not to use procedural tricks to block us from doing the job that they won’t do. Meteors headed to crash into our economy. Democrats are willing to do all the work to stop it. Republicans just have to let us do our job. Just get out of the way. We don’t — you don’t want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don’t destroy it,” the president said.

Biden warned that until the debt ceiling has been raised, Americans may see interest rates go up, which would raise their mortgage and car payments, as well as shrinking their retirement accounts.

“Republicans say they will not do their part to avoid this needless calamity. So be it, but they need to stop playing Russian roulette with the U.S. economy. It’s one thing to pay our debts already acquired. It’s another to require a supermajority to pay the debts already acquired. It’s not right,” he said.

“Let the Democrats vote to raise the debt ceiling this week, without obstruction or further delays. Democrats in the House have already passed a bill that would do that. It is sitting in the United States Senate where Democrats have the votes ready to pass it,” the president added.