Politics, Americas

Biden tells Republicans to 'get out of the way' amid debt ceiling row

Republicans need to stop playing Russian roulette with US economy, US president says

Ovunc Kutlu   | 04.10.2021
Biden tells Republicans to 'get out of the way' amid debt ceiling row

ANKARA

US President Joe Biden on Monday slammed Republicans amid the obstacles against raising the debt limit before Oct. 18.

"The reason we have to raise the debt limit is in part because of the reckless tax and spending policies under the previous [President Donald] Trump administration. In four years, they incurred nearly $8 trillion," he said, noting that Republicans raised the debt limit three times under Trump.

Biden stressed that raising the debt limit is a bipartisan undertaking and he called the obstacles caused by the Republicans in the Congress "so reckless and dangerous."

"They need to stop playing Russian roulette with the US economy," he told a press briefing at the White House.

While Republicans are firmly against raising the debt limit, Biden said raising the debt limit is about paying off old debts and it has nothing to do with new spending, especially his infrastructure plan.

"Raising the debt limit comes down to pay what we already owe, not anything new," said the president, adding "The United States is a nation that pays its bills and always has since its inception, we've never defaulted."

He listed some of these obligations as social security benefits for seniors, salaries for service members, benefits for veterans, and other financial obligations.

"We are able to borrow because we always pay our debt ... It's called full faith in credit," he said.

Biden warned that failure to raise the debt limit undermines the safety of US Treasury securities and threaten the reserve status of the US dollar as the world's currency.

He also said the US' credit rating would be downgraded, interest rates would rise for mortgages, auto loans and borrowing, if debt limit is not raised.

"Their [Republicans'] obstruction and irresponsibility have absolutely no bounds, especially when we are clawing our way out of this pandemic," he said, adding "Just get out of the way, so you don't destroy it [the US]."

Without Republican votes, Democrats may have to raise the debt limit on their own by Oct. 18 when the limit is estimated to be reached, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who has repeatedly warned Congress in recent months that the US government is on track to default on its national debt in October unless Washington increases the debt limit.

The Congress has increased or suspended the debt limit 78 times since 1960, according to the Treasury, with the most recent one being in 2019.

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