Action must be taken on the nation’s debt now or the nation’s annual interest on the debt will be even more out of control, Sen. Mike Lee warned Sunday.
“Our $31 trillion-plus national debt is so much larger than our economy that we’re having a difficult time keeping up with it,” the Utah Republican said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.” “In just a few years, we’re going to see our national interest on debt skyrocket from around $400 billion a year to well over a trillion a year, and we don’t have that kind of money to cover that and everything else too. So if we don’t get ahead of this now, it’s going to get ahead of us, and we’re all going to suffer as a result.”
Senate Republicans are standing by the party’s policy position that has been held for some time, in calling that any debt ceiling increases should be accompanied by corresponding cuts to spending and by structural, long-term spending measures, he added.
“Look, this isn’t a strictly partisan issue,” said Lee. “Over time, Republicans and Democrats acknowledge many like terms that the national debt is a problem. Way back in 2006, when our national debt was a tiny practice of what it is now, then-Sen. Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. This isn’t necessarily a Republican or Democrat issue, it is simply an American issue; and we’re fighting for the people on this.”
Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has employed “extraordinary measures” to extend the debt ceiling until early June, but Lee said he thinks something should be done sooner than that.
“Once we blow past the debt ceiling, which should happen in the next few weeks, we’re really at the mercy of the Treasury Department,” he said. “At any time, they could accelerate or decelerate whatever they deem to be the extent of their extraordinary measures, the time period in which they can expend out debt ceiling by looking, metaphorically speaking, for nickels and dimes under the couch cushions. We ought to be doing this now, and I’d love to see Congress pass something and submit it to President [Joe] Biden so that we can address the issue and move on.”
However, many lawmakers will find a way to delay the issue until before a Senate recess, said Lee. And if that happens with the debt ceiling, “you’d have members scrambling and panicking and perhaps voting for something they wouldn’t otherwise vote for. That’s why we control our own schedule. The executive branch doesn’t. We’ve got to act now. We can do it in a way that really puts us on a better economic footing.”
Lee also on Sunday talked about a new trove of classified documents connected with Biden that has been found at the University of Delaware. He said he agrees that the president should take such matters seriously, as the law does, “and the punishment for not taking it seriously are great.”
He added that he found it surprising that Biden had in his possession Senate documents, because of the difficulty with which it takes to remove them from the chamber.
“Under no circumstance does the senator hold on to these classified documents,” said Lee. “I don’t even know how he would have done this. It’s really scary and confusing to me how that would have even happened.”
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