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  • Ryan Wittler

Mitch McConnell Said Republicans Will Vote Against Increasing the Debt Limit

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On Monday, despite voting to do so three times under former President Trump, and watching the national debt balloon by $7.8 trillion during the Trump years, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Democrats are now in control and should raise the limit without Republican support.

The announcement didn’t come as a surprise, however, as just last week McConnell said Republicans oppose raising the ceiling even though they think it needs to be done. Monday’s declaration is the clearest indication yet that Senate Republicans will vote to let the country default on its financial obligations for the first time ever.

What is the “debt limit''?

The debt limit is the cap on the total amount of money the federal government can borrow from the public or its own reserves (e.g., the Social Security trust fund) to meet its existing financial obligations. It’s been raised 78 times since 1960 and was even suspended entirely in 2019.

What happens if it’s not raised?

Essentially, it would mean the government can’t borrow more money to pay its current obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, and interest on the national debt, among other things. It’s a situation experts say is somewhat of a mystery since the government has never actually missed its payments, however, it won’t be inconsequential.

The last time we faced a similar situation was in 2011 when the government flirted with a default and Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating. In the end, due to a bunch of finance reasons that all seem weird but we’re told make sense, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated it cost U.S. taxpayers an extra $1.3 billion that fiscal year.

An analysis by Moody’s Analytics released Tuesday also found that a default would cost the U.S. 6 million jobs and $15 trillion in wealth.

Gotta say, the new Republican strategy of lying about elections, denying science while their own voters die, and voting to let the country default on its financial obligations, is an interesting one.

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