On Monday, Republicans in the United States Senate blocked a bill that would have funded the government while providing billions of dollars in hurricane relief to Americans. It also would have halted a default in U.S. debts, part of the Republicans renewed strategy to undermine President Biden’s broader economic agenda.
The measure, which had passed the House of Representatives last week now puts Democrats in a pickle to come up with their own path forward ahead of urgent, fiscal deadlines, the most pressing coming at midnight on Thursday. That’s when Congress must adopt a fiscal plan to fund the federal government or some agencies and critical operations will begin sputtering on Friday morning. In addition, lawmakers have to take action by the middle of next month to raise the debt ceiling. If not, there is the risk of a first-ever government default which could potentially destabilize the global marketplace, with the White House warning of the potential for the United States to plunge into another recession.
United States Senator Bob Menendez is highly critical of the Republicans’ tactics, saying, “Once again, Republican politicians are hurling America toward a fiscal cliff of no return by voting to default on our debt and shut down the federal government at the exact moment so many Americans are counting on it.
“Our communities are already grappling with immense challenges, from rebuilding in the aftermath of deadly floods and wildfires, to fighting a pandemic that continues to claim hundreds of American lives every day, to responsibly resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who helped us in the war on terror.
“That Republicans are willing to shut down the government in the face of so many crises and create a brand new one in the form of a job-killing global economic meltdown defies reason and basic decency. A default on our existing debt obligations would jeopardize millions of jobs, send markets crashing and interest rates rising, destroy our economic recovery, and wipe out household wealth in retirement accounts, all so that Republicans can score short term, meaningless political points.
“It’s astonishing how many of my Republican colleagues had no problem running up our national debt with their trillion-dollar tax giveaways for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but now that it is time to pay for them, they would rather reject the values of personal responsibility and have no regard for the human consequences of their actions. It’s clear the GOP is now the party of default.”
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