In the United States, the battle over the debt ceiling is getting to the heart of the matter

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The Republican general staff unveiled its roadmap on Tuesday on the thorny issue of the American debt ceiling, hoping to make Democratic President Joe Biden give in with whom a standoff is engaged.

After a speech on Wall Street on Monday, the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy detailed on Tuesday April 18 before his parliamentary group his plan to avoid a default in payment by the United States.

Measures immediately brushed aside by the American president as “old economic theories of the past”. “He offered huge cuts to important programs that millions of Americans rely on,” criticized Joe Biden, a sign that the battle between the two men is getting tough.

Like all major economies, or almost, the world’s leading power lives on credit. But unlike other developed countries, America regularly comes up against a legal constraint: the debt ceiling, which must be formally raised by Congress.


This famous “ceiling” of 31,400 billion dollars was reached in mid-January.

Temporary emergency measures have been taken to continue to pay the debt, but without an agreement in Congress to raise this ceiling, the United States will find itself in default, unable to meet its financial commitments, perhaps as soon as this summer.

But for ten years, this routine legislative procedure, the Republicans have made an instrument of political pressure. On the strength of their new majority in the House of Representatives, they promised to set very strict conditions for any increase in this ceiling, so as not to give a so-called “blank check” to the Biden administration.

The US debt ceiling © / AFP

“It’s time to stop this madness!” Urged Kevin McCarthy, who poses as an uncompromising defender of budgetary rigor. “Reckless spending by Democrats has sparked inflation, a banking crisis and many other problems,” he accused on Twitter.

His project, presented Tuesday to his peers in Congress, plans, among other things, to bring the amount of federal government spending back to 2022 levels, and to limit their growth to 1% per year over the next ten years.

Leap into the unknown

The Democrats are strongly opposed to the Republican project, believing that conditioning an increase in the debt ceiling on budget cuts amounts to blackmail. “This wish list is just a rehash of bad ideas that we’ve been hearing about for weeks,” Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer criticized on Tuesday.

Engaged on this file in a bitter battle with the Biden camp, Kevin McCarthy wants to organize a vote on this text in plenary session by the end of the month – to increase the pressure.

Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries, leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, spoke of the “irresponsible attitude” of the Republicans, capable of “collapsing the economy”, during a call on Tuesday. The three men “will not negotiate” with a risk of default, according to a statement from the White House.

Without an agreement, American and global finances risk plunging into the unknown. The Republican leader had been received by Joe Biden in early February to discuss possible outcomes. The two leaders had then recorded their differences, failing to find a compromise.

The “speaker” McCarthy, elected in pain in January, will however first have to overcome the dissension in his ranks between the right wing of his party, which pleads for budgetary orthodoxy, and moderate elected officials, to ensure that this bill may well pass the House.

With AFP

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