In a letter to President Biden, nearly half of the Senate Republican Conference warns that they will not support legislation to raise the country’s debt ceiling unless it is coupled with expenditure reductions to handle the $31 trillion debt.
The Republican conference’s policy is stated in the letter, which was written by conservative senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.). It states that any raise in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by expenditure reductions or “real structural reform in spending.”
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The senators wrote: “We, the undersigned members of the Senate Republican Conference, write to express our unambiguous opposition to a debt-ceiling raise without genuine structural spending reform that curtails deficit spending and restores fiscal sanity to Washington.”
As examples of “meaningful structural reform,” they cited the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, which would automatically provide continuing appropriations to fund the government if Congress is unable to pass spending legislation by the year’s end, and the Full Faith and Credit Act, which would give priority to federal payments if Congress is unable to raise the debt ceiling.
They said, “We do not expect to vote for a debt-ceiling hike absent structural reforms to address present and future economic realities, properly enforce the budget and spending restrictions on the books, and manage out-of-control government practices.
The letter, which supports Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) initiative to negotiate budgetary changes with the White House in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling, but was not signed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, two other significant members of McConnell’s leadership team, did not sign the letter. Instead, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming did.
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