Durbin: Republicans Are Deliberately Manufacturing Economic Uncertainty

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today once again slammed Senate Republicans—led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—for their continued refusal to join Senate Democrats in voting to suspend the debt ceiling.  During his speech, Durbin also urged his colleagues to support Congressional Democrats’ Continuing Resolution (CR), which keeps the government funded and open through December 3, 2021; avoids a needless and dangerous shutdown; provides emergency funding to help resettle Afghan refugees; and responds to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida and the wildfires out west.  The CR must be passed before midnight tonight to avoid a government shutdown.

“We are less than three weeks away from a default on our national debt, and 14 hours away from a government shutdown.  Later today, this Senate is expected to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution.  If it passes, we can keep the federal government functioning until December 3, and we obviously should do that in the midst of a pandemic with all the things that are threatening America,” Durbin said.

Durbin also noted that raising or suspending the debt limit has nothing to do with approving new spending—it’s about paying off the spending the government has already incurred.  Much of the debt that Republicans are threatening not to pay was approved by Senate Republicans under former President Donald Trump.

“Let’s be clear about why Congress needs to address the debt limit.  Addressing this debt limit allows Congress to continue to borrow money to pay for expenses that have already been incurred,” Durbin said.  “This measure that we are talking about, the acknowledgment of our debt ceiling, is to pay the debts of the Trump Administration.  The national debt of America increased by 36 percent under President Trump in one four-year period of time.  We are taking recognition of the fact that that money was spent and has to be paid for.  Ninety-seven percent of the total federal debt occurred before Joe Biden became President.  This is debt that was built up under Presidents and majorities in both parties… Now Senator McConnell and his Republican colleagues are playing a verbal shell game claiming falsely that we need to address the debt limit to the pay for future spending.  That is not true and they know it.”

Durbin concluded, “Defaulting on this debt would be the ultimate dine and dash.  It would be a grave, self-inflicted wound that would harm innocent Americans for decades.  Our Republican colleagues used to preach the gospel of economic certainty.  The only thing certain about defaulting on our national debt is that it would be ruinous to our economy and it's a responsibility both parties should want to avoid.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.