McConnell: US ‘Must Never Default On Its Debt’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday dismissed concerns of a financial crisis on the horizon and expressed his confidence that the U.S. will never default on its debt.

Addressing reporters following an event at the University of Louisville on disaster relief funding, the Republican said, “No, I would not be concerned about a financial crisis.” He asserted that “America must never default on its debt. It never has, and it never will.”

McConnell predicted that lawmakers will engage in negotiations with the White House and reach an agreement “over what the circumstances or conditions under which the debt ceiling will be raised.”

The longtime GOP leader noted the need to raise the debt ceiling always results in contentious debate, but he stressed his belief that the effort will succeed before the Treasury expends its “extraordinary measures” in June.

The national debt surpassed $31.4 trillion this week, crossing the threshold set by Congress over a year ago. McConnell undoubtedly will play a crucial role in whatever negotiations are necessary to forestall default, and battle lines are already being drawn.

New House Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared recently that any debt ceiling increase must be paired with federal spending cuts. He called for direct talks with President Joe Biden on the matter and even signaled a willingness to address defense spending.

However, the administration and Democratic leaders pushed back at the demand, saying that linking expenditures with the debt ceiling is a nonstarter and not up for negotiation.

The White House also leveled criticism at McCarthy on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to undermine his ability to lead the GOP House delegation.

It called on the California Republican to publicize the agreement he made with conservative party members to gain their support in the race for Speaker.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote congressional leaders this week informing them that her department will now resort to these “extraordinary measures.” They are to guarantee the nation does not default on its debt payments at least through June.

She warned that there is “considerable uncertainty” over the June 5 default date due to the unpredictability of determining government revenues and forecasting payments. There is almost certainly a lengthy showdown coming over the debt ceiling between Congress and the White House.