WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking, Appropriations, and Foreign Relations Committees and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, yesterday joined Balance of Power on BloombergTV to discuss the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, President Biden’s attendance at the G7 summit, and his upcoming Senate Banking hearing with financial regulators.
Hagerty on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations: “I don’t have a red line. The only red line I have, Joe, is not to get ahead of the negotiators because we’ve got one negotiating room. And this is a debate discussion and a negotiation between President Joe Biden and [Speaker] Kevin McCarthy, in my view, and the people that they’ve designated to do it. I’ve been a businessperson my entire life, and I know you can’t negotiate from outside the room. All you can do is make things more challenging for those who are trying to get to a result. So, my red line is to step back and let the negotiators do their work right now […] I would’ve been much happier if we’d started negotiating in earnest much sooner. That’s very unfortunate that we are here at the time we are. But given that fact, I feel good with the fact that they’ve actually narrowed the negotiating table right now, that Speaker McCarthy and President Biden have both put people at the table, a small team at the table, that have the capacity and the competence to do this. [Representative] Garrett Graves, a very strong member of Congress—he’s going to do a great job in this. You’ve got the [Office of Management and Budget] director and the White House Senior Advisor there that President Biden, I think, has a lot of confidence in. So, I think the right people are at the table right now. So, from a process standpoint, I am optimistic that you’ve got the capacity now to get to an answer. Let’s just make sure they get it done.”
Hagerty on his support for work requirements: “Absolutely, I do [support them], and the people in Tennessee do as well. When you look at the requirements, they’re not unreasonable at all. We’re talking about able-bodied people between the ages of 19 and 55 working a minimum of 80 hours a month—roughly 20 hours a week. It could be job training. They could be going to school [or] doing something for their community, but that’s an effort to try to get them more into the workforce. It’s going to be good for the recipients, and I think it’s going to seem much more fair to those Americans who are subsidizing these payments.”
Hagerty on President Biden attending the G7 summit with the debt ceiling unresolved: “I’ll go back to what I said in the beginning. I wish that these conversations had taken place earlier. I wish that we had this wrapped up before he got on the plane to fly to Japan. At the same time, though, America has a role to play in the world, and we are desperate, on a global basis, to have America stand strong as a leader. This G7 summit is an opportunity for the G7 leaders to come together to talk about China’s course of behavior [and] to stand up against it. I think that’s an important message to send to [the world], and America needs to be a leader there, not absent from the table […] It would not be a good signal [for President Biden to be absent]. I think that, again, we have a role to play as the leading superpower in the world, a responsible superpower. Again, I wish that we’d taken care of domestic issues, like this debt ceiling, earlier. We should have. But at the same time, this is a role that the President needs to play. He should be on that plane, and I think it would be very, very damaging were his seat empty at the G7.”
Hagerty on his upcoming hearing with financial regulators: “We’re going to have the supervisors back in front of us again tomorrow. This is an issue of great concern, and it’s a deep concern of mine that we precipitated this situation because of the behavior of our regulators. I think the San Francisco [Federal Reserve], the supervisors there, were asleep at the wheel. The [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] allowed an auction to fail the weekend that SVB went down. This is a major concern. It put us into unchartered waters. As a result, we’ve got uncertainty throughout the banking system right now. So, my bill is aimed at addressing that uncertainty, calming the waters on a temporary basis, and allowing the regional banks to stabilize their repositories of great clients [and] great accounts. What we don’t need to see is this unintended consequence of people getting concerned, runs on banks, and enforcing these too-big-to-fail banks to get even larger because customers panic and move their accounts from these regional-sized banks. We just need some stability right now, and that’s what my bill aims to do. I do think there should be strong bipartisan support to get to an answer here.”