Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is sounding the alarm over the Republicans’ debt limit package, arguing it would slash “investments important to American families.”
In an opinion piece published by MSNBC on Sunday, DeLauro railed against the Limit, Save, Grow Act, a bill unveiled by Republicans last week that pairs an increase to the debt limit with fiscal reforms many Democrats see as non-starters.
Provisions featured in the sweeping package include pitches to cap government funding hashed out by appropriators annually at fiscal 2022 levels, put a stop to popular Biden administration decisions on student loans, and beef up work requirements for public assistance programs.
“As the lead Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees government funding, I have warned for months that cuts of this magnitude will be devastating, no matter how you slice them,” DeLauro wrote in the opinion piece, adding she had asked agencies earlier this year about the potential impacts of the cuts.
“But McCarthy and his allies are moving ahead with their reckless plan, even after those agencies have laid out its disastrous consequences. This should outrage all of us,” she wrote.
The bill, which House Republicans are pushing to pass this week but is almost certainly dead on arrival in the Senate, comes as Congress is expected to have just months to raise the debt ceiling, which limits how much money the Treasury can owe to cover the nation’s bills.
DeLauro characterized the bill as “reckless,” arguing it would “also increase costs for hardworking families at a time when families are struggling to get by.” She also pointed to responses from federal agencies warning of what a return to 2022 spending levels could mean for their operations.
“For months, I have heard my Republican colleagues claim that defense, veterans’ health care and border security would be protected,” DeLauro wrote. “This bill does not keep that pledge. It either puts this funding on the chopping block or forces further cuts to other critical government programs by more than 22 percent.”
“As much as Republicans want to pretend otherwise, these caps are cuts. They would ensure that resources for critical programs remain below current levels for the next 10 years — all for less than one year of preventing a default,” she added.
The piece adds to growing opposition Democrats have leveled against Republicans, as GOP members draw red lines around raising the debt limit without steep cuts or major fiscal reforms.
The Treasury began implementing so-called “extraordinary measures” earlier this year to stave off a federal default — an outcome experts warn could yield catastrophic effects for the economy — after the national debt ran up on the roughly $31.4 trillion limit set by Congress more than a year ago.
Democrats have instead proposed tax increases on the wealthy to tackle the nation’s deficits over the coming years, while also insisting on a “clean” bill to raise the debt limit. But Republican leadership has ruled out any new tax increases, and they see the looming fiscal deadline to avert a default as a critical leverage point to secure concessions from Democrats to limit spending.
House Republicans are expected to vote this week on the legislation.