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‘Political hand grenade:’ President and Republicans disagree on nation’s debt limit

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In a media call Thursday afternoon, Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner addressed the possibility of raising the national debt limit.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he is prepared to move a party-line bill and raise the limit if President Joe Biden keeps refusing to talk with House Republicans and avoid the first-ever default in American history. Raising the limit would include budget cuts.

CNN reported Thursday that Biden called on the House GOP to raise the debt ceiling by $31.4 trillion.

“I’m still relatively optimistic,” Warner said Thursday afternoon of what he called a “political hand grenade that has been given to potentially irresponsible players.”

He said the situation could literally blow up the American economy just after a bank failure in California a few weeks ago and the efforts of the federal government to lower inflation.

The U.S. reaching the national debt ceiling “would have a very real cost” on Americans, he said, including raising interest rates and increasing the average Virginian homeowner’s mortgage by $150 per month.

The consequences are clear for Virginians when it comes to 1.6 million who receive Social Security and 1.6 million who receive Medicare. Both programs would be subjected to budget cuts, as well as programs for Virginia’s 700,000 veterans.

During former President Donald Trump’s tenure, Congress raised the debt ceiling three times, according to Warner.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.