Durbin: The Republican Speaker Is Manufacturing An Economic Crisis

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 slammed House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy for his threats to default on America’s debt for the first time in history unless Democrats agree to slash funding for working families, veterans, law enforcement, and small businesses across the country. 

Right now in the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker McCarthy is threatening our economy with the first ever federal debt default, the first time ever in our history,”Durbin said.  “We’re only weeks away from a deadline of June 1.  That’s when Secretary Yellen says America could default on our federal debt.  So every day that the House Republicans refuse to perform the most basic responsibility of government—paying our bills—they are spreading uncertainty throughout the global economy.”

Durbin went on to highlight Speaker McCarthy’s and his MAGA majority’s legislation and how it would decimate funding for our nation’s veterans, gut funding for police officers and first-responders, jeopardize health care coverage for millions of Americans, and eliminate food assistance for more than one million people—including children—who are at risk of going hungry.  Durbin also noted how Speaker McCarthy’s proposal protects tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and big corporations.

Over the past few years, our nation has emerged from the depths of a once-in-a-century pandemic, we’ve navigated one market disruption after another, and today, we’re finally moving in the right direction,” said Durbin.  “But now, Speaker McCarthy and the House want to throw all of that historic progress away.  Why?  To please the most radical members of his party.  The debt ceiling proposal House Republicans passed last week is not a budget.  It is a MAGA manifesto.  It is a ransom note to the American people—either suffer the disastrous consequences of a debt default or face devastating cuts in services and programs that millions of Americans rely on every day.”

Durbin continued, “Their MAGA manifesto would cause needless suffering all across America.  It would hurt virtually everybody in this nation, except the top one percent, which would have their Trump tax cuts preserved.  To start, this Republican bill would decimate funding for America’s veterans, eliminating 80,000 jobs in the veterans’ health administration, and threaten housing and food security for them as well.  This proposal would also wipe out 30,000 law enforcement and border patrol jobs… And if this proposal became law… we would also cut one million senior citizens’ meals on wheels.” 

During his speech, Durbin also detailed what the MAGA majority’s legislation would mean for Illinois specifically.

“Let me tell you what the cuts would mean in my state of Illinois.  The Republican proposal would force 13,000 children in our state to lose child care and preschool.  It would strip food assistance from 55,000 women, infants, and children,” Durbin said.  “Does that make any sense at all?  And it would threaten medical care for more than 186,000 veterans in Illinois.  Fifty thousand seniors would lose their meals on wheels in my state.”

Durbin concluded, “Right now, we have one responsibility—maintain the reputation of the United States of America for having full faith and credit, standing behind our debts, and making our payments.  That is our constitutional duty.  The path forward is clear.  We need a clean bill for the debt ceiling, and then we can debate the issue of the budget and appropriations.”

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.