Durbin: We Are Days Away From A Possible Economic Catastrophe Because Republicans Are Threatening To Default

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. 

“June 1 looms on us unless Congress takes action or the United States will default on its debt for the first time in the history of our nation.  All the people who are in the know tell us it would be a disaster of such proportion that it would harm individuals, families, and businesses across the United States,” Durbin said.

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 law enforcement and border patrol jobs, 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.  The proposal would cut critical medical research in the United States.   

“Now the Speaker has told us they want to cut back on medical research.  Tell that to the families of cancer victims, tell that to the families that are trying to cope with life-threatening diseases.  The breakthroughs that come about because of this medical research should inspire us to spend even more on research.  To think that we may be close to a vaccine against pancreatic cancer?  That is unthinkable a few weeks ago or months ago.  But now there are reports that NIH research is leading in that direction with some promising conclusions,” Durbin said.

Durbin also noted how Speaker McCarthy’s proposal protects the Trump tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and big corporations.

Durbin continued, “These are tax cuts that benefited corporations which were not paying their fair share of taxes and continue to receive blessings from the Trump Administration to pay even less and wealthy individuals who are doing quite well for themselves… Speaker McCarthy wants to preserve those tax cuts.  Well, that's not my priority serving in the United States Senate.”

During his speech, Durbin also highlighted how McCarthy’s plan guts critical environmental protections in order to fast track new fossil fuel projects, mandates the sale of new oil and gas leases, and accelerates drilling.  McCarthy’s proposal would make us more vulnerable to the climate crisis.

“That’s not just bad for the planet—it’s bad for our people, our economy, as well as our nation’s hopes for becoming energy independent.  If this MAGA Manifesto becomes law, it could eliminate more than 140,000 clean energy jobs across the country, jobs which we promoted with the Inflation Reduction Act.  The Republican proposal also would cut billions of dollars in clean energy investments—the majority of which benefit businesses and workers in their own states.  Importantly, these investments are not only job creators, they are vital to our nation’s capacity to remain resilient in the face of a looming climate crisis.  Just yesterday, the World Meteorological Organization warned that the next few years will be the warmest on record for planet earth.  Temperatures may even breach the targets set by the Paris Agreement—not in the next five decades, but the next five years,” Durbin continued.

“These Republicans insist that if we want to become energy-independent, we have no choice but to invest more in oil and gas.  In their view, America is hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels and are forcing us to remain beholden to foreign oil giants is the Republican answer but the truth is, they're wrong,” Durbin said.  “Fossil fuels are not the future.” 

In Springfield, Illinois, an American-owned solar company broke ground on a project called Double Black Diamond.  The company will be producing more than 590 megawatts of clean, solar energy that will power homes and businesses throughout Illinois.  The Double Black Diamond project will be one of the largest solar farms in the entire country. 

Durbin concluded, “Right now if we don't [invest in clean energy], China and other countries will.  They are going to pursue solar electricity and the next-generation technology. We will be left behind if the Republicans have their way with the budget bill.  We are not going to take a back seat to China or any other country.  We've got to think about tomorrow.”

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.