(CNSNews.com) — Although President Joe Biden says he will not negotiate over raising the federal debt ceiling, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), speaking for House Republicans on Tuesday, said “there will be no increase in the debt limit in the absence of significant and meaningful spending cuts.”
Gaetz noted that the House Freedom Caucus has prepared a long list of cuts in non-defense discretionery spending, which does not affect Social Security or Medicare. In addition, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) announced on Monday that these cuts target “woke, weaponized, and wasteful spending programs,” which will “save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.”
The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of money the federal government can borrow to meet its legal obligations, including money to fund Social Security and pay the interest on the national debt.
The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on Jan. 19, with a total national debt at $31,414,360,560,928.79 — $31.4 trillion. The Treasury Department has taken “extraordinary measures” to meet government liabilities in the meantime but the debt ceiling likely will be raised sometime between June and August, if the White House and Congress can work out a deal.
President Biden’s budget proposal for FY2024 (Oct. 1, 2023 — September 30, 2024) calls for spending $6.8 trillion, while bringing in only $5.0 trillion in revenue, producing a deficit of $1.8 trillion. House Republicans want major cuts in that plan before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling because excessive federal spending is contributing to inflation.
At a March 28 press conference, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a House Freedom Caucus member, said, “The message from House Republicans to President Biden is clear. There will be no increase in the debt limit in the absence of significant and meaningful spending cuts.”
“I am very proud that House Republicans ran against the inflation that has crushed American families,” he added. “And this, today, represents the most specific detail in our plan to stop that inflation.”
“The American people know that inflation is often induced by excessive government spending,” sai dGaetz. “So we have laid out a plan, represented in this legislative body of work, that doesn’t cut Social Security, that doesn’t cut Medicare, but that attacks a woke and weaponized government that the American people should not have to fund at the expense of their own economic security and the economic security of future generations.”
“Inflation is still stubbornly high,” he said. “Spending is rising. We have banks failing. And we’ve reached the debt limit. It seems like a perfect time to assess the things that are no longer necessary for us to spend funds on.”
Gaetz continued, “I am particularly pleased that in this plan, in the messaging from the House Freedom Caucus, even in Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy’s letter to President Biden today, I see reflected my call for work requirements on Medicaid and on a number of the social safety net programs where we have able-bodied, childless adults, who could go to work and they choose not to.”
“Well, I don’t think hard-working Americans should be paying for all of the social services for people who could make a broader contribution and instead are couch potatoes,” said the congressman.
McCarthy’s letter to Biden was a request for the president to set a date to negotiate with House Republicans over the debt ceiling and federal spending.
The House Freedom Caucus proposal amounts to more than 500 pages of budget cuts, according to the Washington Examiner. In addition to the cuts, House Republicans want to “rescind unspent COVID-19 funding, cap nondefense spending at pre-pandemic levels, reduce funding to the Internal Revenue Service, and return the nation’s spending levels to what they were in 2019.”
On March 28, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said, “The conference is united. Speaker McCarthy in this conference is largely saying the same thing, talking about cutting $3 to $4 trillion dollars in spending, going back to 2019 nondefense discretionary spending, ’20 to ’22 spending overall.”
The last time Biden met with McCarthy at the White House was on Feb. 1.
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