WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Republicans are laying out their demands in the high stakes debt ceiling fight. For the first time, Republican leaders have offered a specific budget proposal. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled the plan on Wednesday afternoon.
“To limit government spending, save taxpayers money, and grow the economy,” McCarthy said.
The proposal would cut spending back to 2022 levels and claw back money from COVID funds, new climate change programs, and the IRS expansion. If that happens, Republicans would agree to raise the debt limit by enough to cover the country’s debts into next year.
Senator Rick Scott says that’s an important tradeoff.
“We need to live within our means, we need to get people back to work. The things they’re talking about are very logical things,” Scott said.
Democrats and President Joe Biden have already rejected the Republican budget. They say it’s irresponsible to use the debt limit as a bargaining chip.
“They say they’re going to default unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have,” Biden said.
The White House says the president wants Congress to raise the debt ceiling first. White House economic advisor Daniel Hornung says after that happens, he’ll be open to having a separate conversation about the budget.
“He just thinks that we shouldn’t have that in the kind of environment where we’re in a hostage taking situation on the debt limit,” Hornung said.
But Republicans are using this new proposal to try to jump-start a discussion.
“They need to sit down negotiate and address this crisis,” McCarthy said.
Even if this budget does bring Democrats to the table, they are far from finding common ground. Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries calls their proposed cuts extreme.
“That would undermine the health safety and economic well-being of the American people,” Jeffries said.
The two sides only have until summer to come to an agreement, or risk a default that could devastate the economy.