News Releases

Senator Murray: “Let’s be clear: right now, the most urgent threat to working families’ economic security and to our economy as a whole is Republican sabotage.” 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement on Senate Republicans blocking a House-passed bill to suspend the debt limit in order to avoid the U.S. defaulting on its debt obligations, avoid a government shutdown, and provide funding for natural disaster aid and resettling Afghan refugees.

“A bill to keep the government open, avoid default, and provided needed relief to Afghan refugees and communities struggling with natural disasters could be on its way to President Biden’s desk tonight. But instead, Senate Republicans blocked it, single-handedly pushing our government towards a dangerous economic cliff with no regard for what default and shutdown would mean to working families’ bank accounts.  

“Senate Republicans agree with Democrats that a default on the nation’s debt would be devastating to our economy—but they voted down a bill to avoid default for purely political reasons. Well, they can’t have it both ways. As a government, we pay our bills, just like every family should. We have a process by which we do that, that includes a vote in the Senate. We expect Republicans to step up, just like I have in the past during Republican administrations. This time, Republicans didn’t.

“Let’s be clear: right now, the most urgent threat to working families’ economic security and to our economy as a whole is Republican sabotage.”

Senate Republicans have argued they will vote to default on the debt because of potential future legislative action; however, the debt ceiling must be lifted because of spending under current law. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Raising the debt limit wouldn’t facilitate future spending, and Congress would still need to raise the debt limit this fall even if no new major spending programs are enacted.”

The Journal also notes that, “raising the debt limit doesn’t authorize new spending, but rather allows the Treasury Department to issue new debt to cover spending that Congress has already authorized, including payments to bondholders, Social Security recipients and veterans.”

Furthermore, according to Treasury Department, the total new debt incurred in the entirety of the four years of the Trump-McConnell leadership was approximately $8 trillion, which includes the $5.446 trillion of new debt the Trump admin incurred since the last time the debt limit was suspended in August 2019 through the final day of the Trump admin (Jan 20, 2021).

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