American voters are tired of the federal government’s high rate of spending and want to slow it down as part of a debt ceiling deal, several Republican lawmakers told Fox News Digital this week.
GOP legislators said their constituents want to see President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., drop their insistence on a “clean” debt ceiling increase and agree to pared-back spending in the next fiscal year.
“They’re saying it’s time for Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden to do their damn job. That’s what they’re saying. So people are sick and tired of the Democrat Party led by Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer fear-mongering with everybody,” Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., told Fox News Digital. “Gas, groceries, and grandkids. That’s what my constituents are concerned about.”
Weeks of inaction coupled with increasing financial uncertainty culminated in a White House meeting on Tuesday between Biden and the top four congressional leaders to discuss how to move forward on the debt limit. A Friday follow-up was called off on Thursday afternoon, signaling that interim discussions between congressional and White House staff have so far failed to make enough headway for a meaningful meeting.
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Democrats continue to insist on a “clean” debt limit increase, arguing that it’s an obligation of the federal government to pay the bills. But House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would lift the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion and cut next year’s discretionary budget to fiscal year 2022 levels.
Biden and Schumer have labeled the bill the “Default on America Act” and claim it would drain dollars from necessary programs. But GOP lawmakers who spoke with Fox News Digital earlier this week said Americans feel differently.
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“I’ve seen data that suggests 75% of Americans across the political spectrum expect the president to come to the table, negotiate commonsense spending reductions, as part of the debt ceiling deal,” said House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington, R-Texas. “And that’s why I think we have a chance to get something meaningful out of this.”
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said even her voters in blue New York think there is government waste.
“Everyone’s looking at Washington as a bloated bureaucracy, and they want to see spending being cut where there could be efficiencies made,” she said.
The Republican Study Committee’s budget chief, Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., noted that financial markets have stabilized in recent days after some uncertainty, and said his constituents want a more stable path for federal spending.
“My constituents want us to stop accruing all of this debt, so moving forward, they want reforms,” he also said.
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Small Business Committee Chair Roger Williams, R-Texas, said his constituents just want to get back to living their daily lives without an overhanging crisis. “They want to get back to quit reading about that — they want to go back to following the baseball scores again, for crying out loud,” he said.
Freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., acknowledged there was “concern all around” due to the ticking clock before the U.S. government is expected to run out of cash on June 1, but said his voters were looking at Biden to act.
“The pressure is clear where it’s at — Republicans have delivered, and the president wants a clean raise of the debt ceiling — people understand that the government has overspent and we can’t continue down this path. We also have to know that we have to meet our obligations, and we will,” Ciscomani said.
Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., also urged Democrats to sit down and negotiate.
“When you look back at what people think government should be doing, it’s about negotiation, it’s about compromise. It’s not one way or the other way, it’s about bringing people together. President Biden came in and said he was going to be the unifying president. He’s been the absolute opposite,” he said.
Others rejected the Democrats’ talking point that the lack of a deal would automatically lead to “default,” and said it’s highly unlikely that the administration would choose not to make required payments to its creditors.
“There is some effectiveness to the false Democratic narrative that if we don’t raise the debt limit, there’s going to be some kind of a catastrophic collapse or default. That’s not going to happen unless [Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen] literally chose not to pay the interest on the debt, not to pay the debt holders, that’s not going to happen,” said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.
Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga., said, “Most people are very concerned, but most people, I think, don’t have the full story.”
“We’re not going to not honor our debt. There are lots of ways to address this. They just don’t want to admit that because they want us to have a free extension of the cap without actually coming to the table and doing the right thing,” he added.
And most touted confidence that the Republican base was squarely in line behind the House GOP’s debt limit bill.
“I have had a lot of people very supportive — and I’m in a very conservative Republican seat — who are saying, ‘You guys are in the right, you’re using the right approach. You’re changing the trajectory of spending, and that’s what we want to see right now,'” said Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Wis.
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