House GOP Whip Emmer declines to outright guarantee U.S. won’t default

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., declined to explicitly guarantee the U.S. will not default on its debts Sunday as debt ceiling brinksmanship continues in Washington.

“Can you guarantee as a leader in the United States Congress, that the United States of America will not default on its debts?” CNN host Dana Bash asked Emmer on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I can, assuming that our president and the Schumer senate recognize the gravity of the problem. This is no longer about politics,” Emmer responded, referring to President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders’ refusal to entertain budget cuts tied to a debt ceiling proposal.

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Debt ceiling looming

House Republicans narrowly passed their own debt ceiling proposal last Wednesday, raising the debt limit until May 2024 along with $4.5 trillion in spending cuts. The bill has an almost zero chance of passing the Democratic controlled Senate, and Biden has vowed to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk. 

Biden and Democratic leaders have argued any negotiations on the federal budget and the debt ceiling should be separate discussions, urging House Republicans to support a clean debt ceiling increase with no strings attached.

“We will have a conversation with House Republicans about the budget, about future spending priorities, about which type of investments should be made to continue to have a strong and robust American economy into the future,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., last Friday in a press conference. Jeffries dismissed the House GOP debt ceiling proposal as a “ransom note.”

“We have passed a debt ceiling solution. We will not, House Republicans will not allow America to default on its debt, we showed that last week.” Emmer said on CNN’s “State of the Union”, arguing the House GOP has already fulfilled its part in raising the ceiling. “The solution is in the Senate right now.”

How close is the country to a default?

The U.S. is projected to run out of cash to continue paying its obligations as early as June. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by then, the country would default on its debts, an unprecedented event that could result in an economic crisis both domestically and internationally.

What’s the debt ceiling?:Here’s what to expect if we reach debt limit.

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