Although it did not secure the spending cuts and other assurances endorsed by conservative lawmakers, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was able to strike a deal with President Joe Biden that included certain concessions in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit.
Even those modest achievements were clearly too much for Democratic legislators, as evidenced by their push to introduce legislation that would hamstring Congress’ role in future debt ceiling debates.
According to reports, Democrats in both the House and Senate spoke up in favor of a bill that would take the power of the purse away from the legislative branch and give it to the Treasury Department.
Citing the fact that a bipartisan agreement was reached just days before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted that the nation would default on its debt, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained why he endorsed the Debt Ceiling Reform Act.
“After a near catastrophic default thanks to political games by our Republican colleagues, it’s time to put the debt ceiling in the hands of the Treasury Secretary,” he said. “We need legislation to reform the way we address the debt ceiling.”
The bill, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), would require a veto-proof majority in both chambers of Congress to interrupt payments made by the Treasury Department. It would essentially shift lawmakers’ role in the process from voting in favor of raising the debt ceiling to voting in opposition to future increases.
This bill will stop these extremists from weaponizing the debt ceiling while preserving Congressional oversight.
— Rep. Brendan Boyle (@CongBoyle) June 9, 2023
Boyle touted the proposed change and shared his hope “that there will be Republican members who are interested in this specific reform.”
This measure is not the first time in recent days that Democrats have called on the executive branch to effectively bypass Congress in order to achieve its big-spending goals. Prior to reaching the bipartisan deal, a group of five Senate Democrats endorsed a plan that interpreted the Constitution’s 14th Amendment in such a way that would negate any congressional debate on the matter.
“It is unfortunate that Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate are not acting in good faith,” the senators wrote. “Instead, Republicans have made it clear that they are prepared to hold our entire economy hostage unless you accede to their demands to reduce the deficit on the backs of working families. That is simply unacceptable.”