Republicans release list of proposals in debt ceiling fight

 February 2, 2023

Republicans have released a list of proposals to rein in the nation's exploding national debt, even as Democrats double down on raising the federal borrowing limit with no strings attached.  

The list of demands from the Republican Study Committee (RSC) notably does not include major cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security.

Republicans make budget proposal

Biden and his Democratic allies have capitalized on the debt ceiling fight -- a perennial Washington circus -- with the usual demagoguery, accusing Republicans of risking a disastrous default with "brinkmanship" and politically radioactive cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

If there's any message Republicans tried to send with Wednesday's talking points, it's that they're leaving entitlements alone.

Although entitlement spending accounts for the lion's share of federal disbursements, entitlement cuts are nowhere mentioned in the RSC's list of seven demands.

Those demands include undoing recent increases to discretionary spending, new annual spending caps on discretionary spending, and a "long-term fiscal control" to keep debt within a certain percentage of the nation's economy, although a percentage isn't listed.

Dems taunt GOP over cuts

The -- admittedly vague -- seven proposals are centered on growing the economy and fighting inflation through deregulation.

"As we talked about in the RSC, we need to look at pro-growth policies in this discussion of how we returned to a more fiscally sane nation," RSC Chairman Kevin Hern (R-OK) told the Washington Examiner.

Biden released a counter-memo that included a taunt: "When will Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans release their budget?"

While McCarthy has already said Republicans won't target entitlements, Republicans haven't been terribly specific about what they would cut. Democrats have pounced, saying Republicans are negotiating in bad faith.

Biden stonewalls

But Republicans say Biden's uncompromising demand for a "clean" debt limit increase is unsustainable, with the national debt now topping $31 trillion after a $4 trillion increase under Biden.

“If you have a child, and you give them a credit card and they spend it to the limit, you’re responsible for paying that credit card. But the responsible thing to do going forward is not just to raise the limit, but look at how you’re spending," McCarthy said.

There were few signs of progress after a meeting Wednesday between McCarthy and Biden, although McCarthy struck a tone of optimism, saying the markets should "feel better" after the discussion.

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