Rep. Matt Gaetz has joined a chorus of GOP lawmakers who believe the Biden administration is wielding the nation’s potential default as a political scare tactic to gut possible spending cuts.
The Fort Walton Beach Republican was among 35 House Freedom Caucus members who signed a letter calling on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to demand that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen prove the nation’s fiscal crisis is real.
Yellen recently argued that unless the federal government raises the debt ceiling America could go into default, and not be able to make payments for things like interest on the national debt, Social Security benefits, or Medicare reimbursement to doctors.
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Yellen has said “X-date,” as the deadline is referred to, could arrive as early as June 1.
In their letter, the lawmakers called it “outrageous” that President Joe Biden seeks a $4 trillion debt-ceiling increase instead of the $1.5 trillion Republicans have approved. The GOP plan also seeks spending cuts in green energy subsidies to Chinese companies, the defunding of Biden’s 87,000 new IRS agents, work requirements for recipients of welfare and Medicaid, and recovering billions in unspent COVID-19 funding.
The lawmakers said Yellen is pushing a “manufactured crisis” with the June 1 deadline, for which she has offered no supporting data. “The credibility of her projection suffers not only from its manipulative timing but also from Yellen’s spectacular prior failures to recognize our severe and lasting inflation,” their letter to McCarthy said. They demand Yellen provide “complete justification” for the X-date.
Gaetz picked up on this theme in an interview with podcaster Grant Stinchfield on Thursday.
“You have to wonder who still trusts Janet Yellen to get anything right,” said Gaetz.
“I no longer trust the Obi-wan Kenobi of wrong answers on the economy to tell me when the default deadline is,” he added.
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Yellen, he added, “blew the call” on inflation, interest rates, and the weakness in the banking system that led to recent high-profile collapses of major banks.
Gaetz also said the White House has not shown the financial data and done little more than let Yellen “wander out of the back room of the White House with a Ouija board under her arm” to justify the June 1 deadline.
The congressman noted that the administration had picked early June as the alleged default point while knowing that quarterly tax receipts will flow in on June 15. Gaetz said that revenue would push the supposed debt-ceiling breach back to the fall, when Congress could deal with it while crafting the budget.
Besides Gaetz, Florida Reps. Byron Donalds, Bill Posey, and Anna Paulina Luna signed the letter to McCarthy.
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