WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With the U.S. Department of the Treasury saying it will be out of cash by next month if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, lawmakers are squabbling about the next steps.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday calling them on to act, saying her department has already exhausted extraordinary measures to keep cash flowing and that the economy will likely suffer irreparable damage if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling soon.
If the ceiling is not raised, the nation will default on its debts and payments on Social Security, Medicare, military spending and other obligations will stop.
“It has to happen,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. “Even the threat of not lifting it lowered our credit rating.”
She said Republicans should step in to get it done.
“Three times during the Trump administration, we all cooperated to get past this, and hopefully they will be responsible,” Pelosi said.
But the majority of Senate Republicans say they will not vote to raise the debt limit only to watch the Democrats who control both chambers pass massive spending bills.
“It’s ironic because the Democrats are prepared to spend $3.5 trillion with just Democrat votes,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “If what they want to do is spend $3.5 trillion with 50 votes and the vice president, without any Republican support in the Senate, they should do the debt limit that way, too; they should have the courage to do that.”
Pelosi said Democrats are not planning to go that route.
“We’ll have several options. We’ll make them well known to you as we narrow them as we go forward,” she told reporters.