Hagerty, GOP Colleagues Proving Democrats Will Not Have Votes To Raise Debt Ceiling

August 11, 2021

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and 45 GOP senators in signing a letter promising they will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, “whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle.” Such a debt ceiling increase would be one of the dire consequences of Democrats’ proposed $5.5 trillion reckless spending spree contained in the budget resolution now before the Senate.

The Republicans’ letter carries powerful legislative consequences. While Democrats are able to impose the vast expansion of federal spending on a strictly party-line basis as part of the “reconciliation process,” in a budget resolution that admits federal debt would reach $45 trillion, they appear unwilling to include a debt ceiling increase to accommodate the reckless debt levels in that Democrat-only measure. This means they would have to demand such a debt increase in a later measure, such as a continuing resolution in the fall. Such measures, unlike the budget resolution, would face a 60-vote threshold. Because 46 senators have promised to oppose such an increase, Democrats would be unable to raise the debt ceiling to accommodate their reckless spending. Any consequences to the nation’s finances would be Democrats’ alone, a result of their cowardice in not raising the debt ceiling in the one measure they can pass on a party-line basis, the $5.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

To Our Fellow Americans,

Since taking total control of the United States federal government, with the Presidency, a narrow majority in the House, and Vice President Harris providing the deciding vote in an evenly split Senate, Democrats have embarked on a massive and unprecedented deficit spending spree. Without a single Republican vote, they passed a $1.9 trillion “Covid relief” bill in March even though $1 trillion was still unspent from previous bipartisan Covid relief bills.

Now they have passed a $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution, again without a single Republican vote. The non-partisan committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has calculated that a more honest score of this budget resolution will likely exceed $5 trillion. Senate Democrats shamelessly estimate their tax and spending plan will result in a $45 trillion debt level by 2031.

In order for this spending to occur, our nation’s debt limit will have to be increased significantly. Because Democrats are responsible for the spending, they need to take responsibility for increasing the debt ceiling. They have total control of the government, and the unilateral ability to raise the debt ceiling to accommodate their unilateral spending plans. Indeed, democrats have the ability to raise the debt limit through the Budget Resolution by introducing appropriate language in the upcoming reconciliation process (or a subset of reconciliation). Doing so would not require a single Republican vote, and would appropriately require each and every Democrat to take responsibility for their out-of-control spending.

We should not default on our debts under any circumstances. If Democrats threaten a default, it will only be because they refuse to vote for the debt ceiling increase necessitated by their own irresponsible spending. Democrats, at any time, have the power through reconciliation to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, and they should not be allowed to pretend otherwise.

We, the undersigned Republican Senators, are letting Senate Democrats and the American public know that we will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle. This is a problem created by Democrat spending. Democrats will have to accept sole responsibility for facilitating it.