WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement after voting against the so-called “Fiscal Responsibility Act”:
“This was a deal negotiated while the extreme MAGA Republicans held the American people hostage. It is absolutely unacceptable that they refused to comply with their constitutional obligation of lifting the debt ceiling, as has been done by Republicans and Democrats 78 times. We appreciate the President and White House negotiating on behalf of the people given the circumstances. I am also very grateful to Democratic Leader Jeffries for being a strong voice against MAGA extremists and FOR the American people. I am clear that we simply could not allow the country to default—that is who we are as responsible Democrats negotiating with an extreme party that was willing to take this country over the cliff with a catastrophic default.
“However, at the same time, we must be clear that this hostage-taking is absolutely unacceptable and that there will be very real consequences for working people and poor people who will now be forced to resume crippling student debt payments, predominantly Black and Brown women who will be kicked off food assistance because they will be forced into working as they enter their senior years, and people everywhere who will be forced to live with more environmental injustice. They are all the ones being forced to pay for this hostage-taking by Republicans who are now clearly on the record of wanting to protect the wealthiest individuals and corporations at the expense of poor and working people.
“This legislation puts unnecessary hurdles between poor people, including older Americans, and nutrition assistance. It claws back more than $21 billion in funding meant to ensure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, caps any increases in non-defense spending at a time when inflation has been on the rise, also effectively lowering the baseline for raising non-defense spending in future years, removes the President’s ability to continue the student loan payment pause, and gives polluting corporations a greater role in preparing their own environmental reviews, allowing them to skew necessary data. In Washington state, we may see real effects on reductions of Emergency Relief Funds for education and on the implementation of new SNAP requirements that will disrupt the process for SNAP recipients and create new churn in the system. As a state that has led on climate change, we also know that there is a very concerning precedent set by the approvals of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
“While the Biden Administration was able to walk back many of the extreme GOP’s worst ideas, we should never have gotten to this place. This was a manufactured crisis where Republicans took our economy hostage – and it sets a very dangerous precedent – that Republicans can ignore the rule of law, ignore our obligation to pay our debts, and ignore the needs of our constituents, all to advance their political priorities.
“This is not the way that Congress should do business. This process pushed our economy to the brink of catastrophe and could have devastated working families across this country. I voted no today to register my objections in both policy and principle and to ensure that people across the country know we are standing up for them and against these extreme MAGA Republicans. We cannot allow this to become the norm in future negotiations and as soon as Democrats retake the majority, I will continue advocating to give the Department of Treasury the ability to raise the debt ceiling.”
As Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Jayapal led an effort to remove the requirement to raise the debt ceiling during the 117th Congress, anticipating hostage-taking efforts by House Republicans.
Jayapal was also one of the first members to sign the Democrat-led discharge petition to require a clean debt-ceiling vote and with Representatives Brendan Boyle, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, and Annie Kuster, Chair of the New Democrats Caucus, led more than 200 Democrats in calling on Republicans to uphold their obligation to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by lifting the debt ceiling “without any extraneous policies attached.”