GOP sounds the alarm on coronavirus-fueled debt

Republicans are increasingly worried about the country’s skyrocketing debt build-up amid unprecedented federal spending aimed at mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Congress has passed several relief bills over the past seven weeks that total nearly $ 2.8 trillion, roughly the combined total of fiscal 2019 and 2020 discretionary spending for the entire government.

The gigantic spending comes as the effect of the coronavirus on the country has been severe: 22 million jobless claims in the past month, a rocky market that has fallen from record levels and nearly one million cases confirmed and more than 46,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Democrats and some Republicans are already turning their attention to a phase four coronavirus bill, which some experts say may have to match or exceed last month’s $ 2.2 trillion as the federal government strives keep pace with the country’s growing health and economy. Needs.

But the majority leader in the Senate Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Tom Cotton calls on Biden to “destroy all Taliban fighters” near Kabul Biden holds video conference with security team to discuss withdrawal from Afghanistan Taliban capture last northern stronghold of Afghan government MORE (R-Ky.) Raises a red flag, saying lawmakers should be “careful” before giving the green light to additional spending.

“Let us think about this very carefully, because the future of our country in terms of the amount of debt we accumulate is a real concern,” McConnell told reporters this week after the Senate passed its latest relief bill. of $ 484 billion.

McConnell said on Wednesday that Congress would “take a break” and “assess the potential future damage” caused by the country’s recent increase in debt.

Senator John cornynJohn Cornyn Democrats take first step towards .5T spending plan Unlike free college, canceling student loans in bankruptcy is a great idea Budget package includes plan to access citizenship, green cards for millions (R-Texas), a GOP executive, said if Congress were to spend money to help provide a financial bridge through the pandemic, lawmakers would soon have to deal with the impact of the spending.

“It’s really a war footing,” Cornyn told Fox News, when asked how to pay for it. But, he added, “Congress is going to have to do a lot of work to try to stabilize our fiscal position. ”

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Introduced a “Back to Work” plan that includes, among other things, the resolution of annual deficits.

“Even before the coronavirus, our country had annual deficits of trillion dollars. In order for America to be prepared for the next challenge and ensure a prosperous economy for generations to come, Congress and the administration must work together to bring spending under control, ”Scott wrote.

Concerns about the country’s fiscal trajectory come as Republicans have largely embraced heavy spending as they attempt to avoid a deep economic recession triggered by social distancing restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

secretary of the treasury Steven mnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez and Rubio Ask Yellen to Investigate JBS Meat Packer The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Goldman Sachs – Biden rallies Senate MPs behind massive spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions about knowing if Trump is lying about the election MORE said the US government “will spend what it takes,” while noting that the administration is keeping an eye on debt.

“On the other hand, I think we are sensitive to the economic impacts of indebtedness, and this is something the president is looking at with us very carefully,” he said.

Republicans, including McConnell, have previously defended spending on the spur of the moment, arguing that the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic requires a vigorous response from the federal government. Forty-three percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey said they had seen their wages cut or lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have these big crises sometimes, and when they do, we are able to go beyond our normal partisanship – and many times our normal positions – because these are not ordinary times,” McConnell told reporters last month. .

The move to accept big spending comes after Republicans widely opposed then-President Obama’s request a decade ago for a similar, albeit noticeably smaller, stimulus package.

Democrats have also accused McConnell and the GOP of hypocrisy given their support for major corporate and personal tax cuts in 2017.

“Funny, I don’t remember Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worrying about deficits when he gave billions in tax breaks to his donors,” the senator tweeted. Martin heinrichMartin Trevor Heinrich David Sirota: Seven Democrats Who Vote Against Fracking Ban While Trying To Secure Future Elections Deadly Extreme Heat Has Arrived: Here’s How Policymakers Can Save Lives Democratic Senators Introduce Resolution For The Day commemorative COVID-19 PLUS (DN.M.).

representing Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tucker Carlson on Ocasio-Cortez Riots Fears: “Find a Therapist” (DN.Y.) also highlighted the tax cuts when asked about GOP concerns.

“Let’s reverse this $ 2 trillion tax cut. … If you’re worried about the deficit and if you’re worried about our national debt, let’s raise some taxes, ”she said.

Not all GOP lawmakers agreed with the high spending.

Senator Ben sasseBen SasseReport sees US government made progress on cybersecurity, more work remains Biden providing temporary ‘safe haven’ for Hong Kong residents White House cyber chief backs new federal office to track threats MORE (R-Neb.) Accused his colleagues last month of “dumping money into a helicopter” without making sure it was actually spent.

“Right now, the plan here is basically to start shoveling money from a helicopter, and the bigger debate is whether Democrats or Republicans should shovel the money first,” said Sasse, who voted against an estimated $ 104 billion coronavirus relief. bill, but voted for the $ 2.2 trillion package.

And sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul’s disclosure shows his wife bought shares in COVID-19 treatment in Hillicon Valley late filing: Rand Paul suspended for a week by YouTube for COVID-19 mask allegations | Crypto Industry Seeks To Gain Momentum After Losing Senate Fight | Senators introduce bill to promote app store competition Rand Paul suspended for week by YouTube over COVID-19 PLUS mask allegations (R-Ky.), Who was in quarantine during the vote on the $ 2.2 trillion package, returned to Washington this week to warn his colleagues against spending hundreds of billions.

“No amount of money, all of the money in China will not save us from ourselves. Our only hope of saving this great country is to reopen the economy,” said Paul, who voted against the latest package.

“My advice to the Senate and to the American people is to be aware of what we are doing by creating all this new debt, and to think carefully before we jump to a terrible, terrible conclusion,” he added.

The federal deficit for fiscal 2020 reached $ 743.6 billion in March, up 7.6% from the same period last year, according to data from the Treasury Department. This does not include the $ 2.2 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, the country’s debt is on track to exceed the size of the entire U.S. economy this year for the first time since World War II, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) warned in a recent letter to leaders that providing more funding to state and local governments would set a bad precedent and negatively impact the country’s debt. The National Governors Association has asked congressional leaders for an additional $ 500 billion.

“Our structural deficit this year will exceed $ 4 trillion. By the end of the year, our debt will exceed the size of our economy. We are on an unsustainable path. We cannot afford to compensate for the bad decisions of state and local authorities. It’s time to reopen America and it must start with state and local leaders, ”he wrote.

Asked about the debt during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Rep. Liz cheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySunday preview: Taliban draw closer to Afghanistan; Kathy Hochul to become first female New York Governor Trump to meet Cheney’s former ally over main challenge: reports Wyoming GOP leaders say they no longer recognize Cheney as a party member MORE (R-Wyo.), House Republican No.3, said Congress must consider how issues like “our national security, like our national debt” are affected by the coronavirus.

“I think there is real concern about this,” she said.

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