Senior Treasury officials reiterate dire warnings if debt ceiling not lifted, pour cold water on invocation of 14th amendment


Ahead of a highly anticipated meeting between President Joe Biden and congressional leaders on Tuesday, senior Treasury officials reiterated dire warnings of economic “chaos” and “catastrophe” if the US does not raise the debt ceiling while the country defaults in early June. .

“I know he wants to create a process where spending priorities and levels are discussed and negotiated, but these negotiations should not be done with a gun to the head of the American people,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday. “ABC this week.”

While Republicans in Congress want to link any increase in the debt ceiling to spending and spending cuts, the administration has said the two issues are unrelated.

Yellen and her No. 2 deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo both painted a grim picture of “economic chaos” if the debt ceiling is not lifted and confirmed that the latest data from the Treasury Department still indicates that the US will enter into force on June 1. could be lacking.

“If we defaulted on our debts, it would have a terrible impact on interest rates, and interest rates are the most important thing for everyone to buy a house, buy a car, for companies to invest,” Adeyemo said on Sunday. MSNBC. warn that the current climate of uncertainty is already impacting the economy as companies plan for potential catastrophe rather than future investment.

“We’re already starting to see the impact on the economy of Congress not taking this off the table,” Adeyemo said.

White House economists and independent analysts have warned that the current tightness and a possible future default could have a disastrous impact on the US economy, with the stock market crashing and millions of jobs lost.

“If they don’t, we will have an economic and financial catastrophe of our own making and there is no action that President Biden and the U.S. Treasury can take to prevent that catastrophe,” Yellen said. ABC that there are “no good options” if Congress doesn’t act.

Her comments come as some have speculated about the possibility that President Biden will invoke the 14th Amendment, or take other extreme measures, if the debt ceiling is not raised in time. “I haven’t gotten there yet,” Biden said in an interview Friday night when asked about such a move.

Although it is a theoretical solution, experts have also said that the president’s unilateral debt issuance without raising the ceiling would create a constitutional crisis and create serious uncertainty, leading to an economic and financial crisis one way or another. Previous governments have seen such a move as unworkable.

“There is no other way to protect our financial system and our economy than for Congress to do its job and raise the debt ceiling,” Yellen said.

Adeyemo also pressed the feasibility of using the 14th Amendment when asked about it on Sunday, saying the “only way” to “guarantee” the US can pay its bills is to raise the debt ceiling.

Biden, whose White House has said it will accept only a clean proposal to raise the debt limit, will sit down Tuesday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, and other congressional leaders to discuss the debt ceiling.

House Financial Services chairman Patrick McHenry on Sunday expressed “modest pessimism” about the prospect of a debt deal.

The North Carolina Republican suggested on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the ultimate compromise to raise the debt limit would be “much like the bill we passed out of the House,” adding that “at this stage in the game, the one key ingredient I don’t have is what the administration would come to terms with.

That bill, which would bring in $31 of the land. The 4 trillion borrowing cap with another $1.5 trillion and cutting federal spending is unlikely to be passed by the Democrat-led Senate. But the measure is primarily intended to boost Republican efforts to negotiate with Democrats.

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York on Sunday called the GOP proposal a “ransom note” and dubbed it the “Default on America Act.”

“Either the Republicans want us to accept these dramatic cuts, or we accept a catastrophic default on the national debt. That’s the unreasonable position and hopefully within a few days the Republicans will come to their senses and do what’s right for the American people,” Jeffries said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Arizona Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema, meanwhile, said Republicans and the White House should explore options to raise the debt ceiling because neither position has the votes to pass.

“The reality is that the bill that Kevin (McCarthy) and his colleagues passed through the House will not be the solution. The votes do not exist in the United States Senate to approve that. But what the president is offering is also not a realistic solution. There will not be a clean debt limit just like that. That’s not what the votes are for,” Sinema told CBS on Sunday.

She said the two sides must negotiate a solution that will “protect the full faith and honor of the United States of America”.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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