Kevin McCarthy’s Mantra: “It’s Not My Fault” – The House Speaker used that phrase many times while in a press conference Wednesday amid the ongoing debt ceiling talks
The GOP Prepares for the Worst?
As talks between the White House and House Republican leaders continue, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday said that he was sending negotiators to the White House – but repeated an interesting mantra several times: “It’s not my fault.”
“It’s not my fault that the Democrats today have become so extreme, so far to the socialist wing, that they are now opposed to work requirements,” McCarthy said at a press conference.
“If AOC or Bernie Sanders is going to run their party, that’s not my fault,” the Speaker added.
“It is not my fault they won’t take action,” McCarthy said. “It is not my fault that the president would not meet with me for 97 days.”
“It is not my fault that the Democrats won’t give up on their spending,” he said. McCarthy later switched it up by saying “Don’t blame me for reaching out to the Democrats, for begging the president to meet with us.” He then said, “don’t blame us, the Republicans, for putting a reasonable bill together.”
Debt Ceiling Crisis
The sides are facing a deadline, likely in early June, when the debt ceiling would be breached, and a default is possible if the debt limit is not raised.
According to the New York Times, the talks are focused on non-defense discretionary spending and what level it should come in at in the next year.
That only represents a small slice of the federal budget but does not include Social Security, Medicare, or defense spending. All of that has been placed off the table.
Therefore, any possible cuts will include “budget cuts on education, environmental protection and a host of other government services that fiscal experts say are nowhere close to being primary sources of spending growth in the years to come,” the Times said.
The cuts, even if they are at the level in the bill passed by the House earlier this spring, would still have only a negligible effect on federal government spending overall.
“The entirety of the overall federal spending increase relative to G.D.P. over the long term can be accounted for by the growth in the major federal health programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and the A.C.A.) and Social Security,” Charles P. Blahous of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said in recent written testimony to Congress.
Biden has also reportedly pushed to close several major tax loopholes, but Republicans have expressed opposition to such actions.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) drew outrage this week when he said he and other Republicans “don’t feel like we should negotiate with our hostage.” Gaetz is part of the faction of conservatives in the House who opposed McCarthy becoming speaker and have vowed to push for his removal should he differ from their goals.
“Don’t take our word for it: Just listen to members of the House Freedom Caucus … They’re saying the quiet thing out loud,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of Gaetz’s comments in the White House briefing room on Wednesday. She also described the debt ceiling brinkmanship as a “manufactured crisis.” Semafor reported that the White House plans to make hay of Gaetz’s comments.
What will happen if there actually is a default?
“From first principles, if a US debt default does not reduce the value of Treasuries, then Treasuries should remain pretty useful for plumbing and collateral purposes,” Matt Levine of Bloomberg News wrote in his Money Stuff newsletter Tuesday. “Of course very little about financial plumbing is derived directly from first principles, and if your computer has a switch that is like ‘IF bond is defaulted THEN don’t accept it as collateral,’ then there are problems. But people have had years of debt-ceiling warnings to adjust their switches and one hopes they have things kind of right.”
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.