House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized congressional Republicans on Wednesday for threatening to oppose an extension of the federal debt ceiling, arguing that such an act is “totally irresponsible.”
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, bemoaned the politicization of the federal government’s debt and budget during a Capitol Hill press conference.
“Let me just say the Constitution says that the ‘full faith and credit of the United States is not to be in doubt.’ It shouldn’t be,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “I don’t know how we got this custom of having to deal with it each year because it is controversial.”
The speaker, in particular, argued that it is unfair for Republicans to balk at raising the debt ceiling since both parties had contributed to federal spending over the years.
“People say ‘oh, you just want to spend money,’ no we’re paying the credit card, the Trump credit card with what we would do to lift the debt ceiling,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “And when President [Donald] Trump was president, we democrats supported lifting the debt ceiling, because it was the responsible thing to do. I would hope that the Republicans would act in a similarly responsible way.”
The debt ceiling is a congressionally imposed limit on the amount of debt the federal government can borrow to pay for expenditures, like social security and employee salaries.
A two-year suspension of the debt limit agreed to under Mr. Trump expired at the end of July, and the vote to authorize more borrowing is never a pleasant political chore.
Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have balked at raising the debt ceiling in light of the massive, $3.5 trillion party-line spending package Democrats are planning to pass.
“If our colleagues want to ram through yet another reckless tax and spending spree without our input, if they want all this spending and debt to be their signature legacy, they should leap at the chance to own every bit of it,” Mr. McConnell said. “So let me make something perfectly clear: If they don’t need or want our input, they won’t get our help with the debt limit increase that these reckless plans will require.”