ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Mornings With Maria on Fox Business to Discuss Debt Ceiling Deal, Banking Legislation, Biden Administration’s Weakness Against Communist China

May 30, 2023

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations, Banking, and Foreign Relations Committees and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today joined Mornings With Maria on Fox Business to discuss the debt ceiling deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden, his legislation to relieve stress in the banking system, and the Biden Administration’s failure to deal with Communist China from a position of strength.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on the debt ceiling deal: “This language [of the bill] has been out for less than 48 hours. We’re pouring through it right now. In fact, I’m flying to Washington right after this interview; I’m in Nashville at this moment. But I’m deeply concerned about it. We’ve got a tremendous amount of difficulty in our system right now because of the massive spending that the Democrats have undertaken. That spending has put our economy into a very challenging situation, and we’ve got national security crises mounting all over the world. This needs to be a serious set of cuts, and what I know [is that] it’s better than the blank check that the Biden Administration was asking for, but there’s a lot more to be dug into. The House has got the bill right now. They’re going to move through their process today with the Rules Committee, and then on Wednesday night, after the markets close, my understanding is they’ll vote on it. I’m going to be watching this very closely and talking with my colleagues […] I’m definitely concerned about the [Internal Revenue Service] spending. I think everybody in Tennessee, all of my constituents, are worried about it. This only cuts back hiring for one year of these new agents. Overall, my focus is going to be on the impact in the economy, Maria, and getting it turned around. There are some positive reforms, as I understand it, in terms of permitting—things that will actually help get our economy restarted. But we also need to take into account the fact that we are at the precipice of a debt shutdown. This isn’t just a government shutdown; this is going to bring the full faith and credit of the United States into play. That would have a dramatic impact on people that are trying to buy a home [and] people are trying to refinance anything in America. In fact, it would have an impact on the cost of our debt here and our interest expense as a nation. So, it’s a precarious place that we’ve found ourselves in. I’ve noticed that [Treasury Secretary] Janet Yellen has moved the X date out to give enough time to get this navigated. I think there’s going to be more negotiation here. But again, a lot more to learn over the course of the next several days […] The permitting issue is an area where I’ve been very focused, Maria. You remember what I did on permitting reform for semiconductor manufacturing here in America; that was a major step in the right direction—we need to see more of it. But again, I’m going to be balancing all of this against the fact that we’re giving up two years of extension here. We better be getting something significant for it.”

Hagerty on his legislation to relieve stress on the banking system: “It absolutely [is about small business], Maria, and you’re great to cover this. You earlier laid out the impact that we would have in the regional banks and the smaller banks in terms of their lending, particularly your covering on the commercial real estate areas. But this is true throughout our economy. We need to make certain that the regional bank sector is strong. What we’ve got right now, we had a tremendous amount of short pressure on regional banks earlier this month. That’s eased a bit, but I remain very concerned because we’ve seen the most rapid rate increase imposed on our economy by the [Federal Reserve] in the past four decades. That’s put a lot of stress on banks. We need to be careful that we’re not going to allow this to turn into another precipitous meltdown. So, my legislation addresses it on multiple points. The most important [point], Maria, is that it facilitates mergers of banks if the end result’s going to be a healthier combination. Right now, we’ve got a regulatory system in Washington and an administration in the Biden Administration that has been very, very difficult to deal with in terms of bank mergers, and basically, they put a huge chilling effect on that. My legislation would grant a waiver for bank mergers that, again, if a healthy bank is trying to acquire one under stress, the result of the two banks combined is going to be a healthy bank, let that pass through quickly on a fast-track basis, and that will allow the market to resolve the problems as opposed to leaving it to the [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation], the auction process, and ultimately, the American taxpayer to deal with it. So, we’ve got to step in and put some real reforms in place. I think I’ll get bipartisan support for this.”

Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s weakness against Communist China: “What the Biden Administration seems to be doing is just asking for a press op, a photo op, with these senior leaders in China. I don’t see any benefit to us at all. We need to be standing stronger right now, making our economy stronger, making our national defense stronger, and speaking from a position of strength. This is anything but that, and how embarrassing—the Chinese saw the opportunity here, and they took it. And now you’ve got [Defense Secretary] Lloyd Austin in a position where he is on his heels. We should not have ever asked for this. We shouldn’t have found ourselves in this position.”