'Going to Be a Knife Fight': Yellen Warns House GOP Against Blocking Debt Increase, Comer Fires Back

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

First, this: The House Republicans’ four-day, 15-ballot skirmish that led to Kevin McCarthy winning the gavel and the Republican Caucus announcing new select committees to investigate Biden and Big Tech was one thing; battling Biden and the Democrats over increasing the national debt will be another.


Let the battle be joined.

As McCarthy and House Republicans continue to hold fast to their commitment to cut spending before they’ll even consider raising the federal debt limit, Democrats are gearing up for the fight.

In a Friday letter to McCarthy, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress not to block raising the federal debt limit, as reported by Daily Wire, claiming that increasing the debt limit “does not authorize new spending commitments or cost taxpayers money” (nonsense; of course, it does).

The Treasury secretary wrote, in part (emphasis, mine):

Public Law 117-73 increased the statutory debt limit to approximately $31,381 trillion on December 16, 2021. As you know, the debt limit is the maximum amount of money that the United States is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal existing obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.

I am writing to remind you that on Thursday, January 19, 2023, the outstanding debt is projected to reach the statutory limit. Once the limit is reached, Treasury will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations.

What is that? It’s like, “Hey, dad! I just overdrew my checking account again and if you and mom don’t put more money in it by Thursday, the checks I’m going to continue to write will bounce!” And, yes, borrow. Anyone else think this insane and ever-deepening national hole is a hole from which there is no escape?


Also on Sunday, Republican James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, fired back during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We hope that the Senate, Democrats, and Republicans will agree to spending cuts,” said Comer, adding:

Look, this has to stop. We cannot continue to operate with these types of deficits. Our national debt is one of our biggest threats to our national security. China continues to have leverage over us because of the basic financial strength of their overall economy vs. ours with respect to the national debt.

Republicans were elected with a mandate from the American people in the midterm elections. We campaigned on the fact that we were going to be serious about spending cuts. So, the Senate is going to have to recognize the fact that we’re not going to budge until we see meaningful reform with respect to spending.

As I suggested at the top, campaigning and pledging to stop Biden and congressional Democrats from continuing to spend taxpayer money like drunken sailors is one thing; taking action to stop Biden & Co. is a whole nother ballgame — which is where Republicans in the past have folded up like cheap suits, innumerable times. Need a reminder? Four words: John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales echoed Comer during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” warning: “The debt ceiling is no doubt going to be a knife fight.”


McCarthy pretty much agreed last week with “all of the above.”

We don’t want to put any fiscal problems through our economy, and we won’t. But fiscal problems would be continuing to do business as usual. I remembered when Trump was President and Nancy Pelosi was Speaker that became a debt ceiling agreement, and it was a cap agreement for two years, to cap the spending and make those decisions.

Even Trump and Pelosi did it — imagine that.

The Bottom Line

As I suggested at the top, tough intra-party skirmishes and tough talk is one thing; the upcoming debt-ceiling battle with Biden and the Democrats will not only be a real battle — it will likely set the stage for the next two years.

Words are cheap; behavioral changes and actions matter.

Oh, and, Mitch? I’m talking to you, too, bud.


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