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Tipsheet

Did KJP Sum Up Everything Wrong With Government Spending in One Response?

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Tuesday's White House press briefing wasn't merely memorable due to Dr. Anthony Fauci's appearance, and because White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre snapped at a reporter, though it certainly was memorable for that, as Spencer highlighted. The press secretary took other questions as well. 

Raising the debt ceiling was a hot topic, when it comes to what the Democrats will do during this lame-duck session of Congress before Republicans take control of the House next January. 

A reporter asked Jean-Pierre for clarification when it comes to what "resolving this issue" of the debt limit. She also asked a more specific, involving question, "are you thinking like just a little bump-up to get through a month? Or are you thinking permanently resolving this issue, as some Democrats have recommended?"

Given Jean-Pierre's non-answer, that may have been too much to ask. While Jean-Pierre claimed "I appreciate the question," it's hard to say how much she actually does when her response entailed her also saying "I’m just not going to get into specifics on how they’re going to move forward on doing this."

What Jean-Pierre did have to offer was that "this should be done," as it's also been done under Republican presidents, "and so there's no reason why we can't do this again."

There actually are reasons why it ought not to be done, namely to do with something called fiscal responsibility.

As the reporter continued to ask questions, Jean-Pierre's responses came even more insufficient. For instance, when asked "is the White House actively working to get Congress to address this in the lame duck," Jean-Pierre merely answered "we are continuing to have conservations," and did not have any specifics to give. 

"But, again, this is something that we welcome.  We, again, don’t see this--we do not believe this should be used as political brinksmanship," she told the reporter. 

During a follow-up on the issue later in the press briefing about "if the administration is still prioritizing passing the debt limit" during the lame duck season, Jean-Pierre repeated her points about how the debt ceiling has been raised before, as if someone else doing something excuses fiscally irresponsible behavior. She also emphasized the point about "it should never be a matter of political brinksmanship."

"Congress must once again responsibly address the debt ceiling before its expiration.  The sooner they act, the better for our economy and our country. We would welcome Congress resolving this issue during the lame duck," was about as much substance as she had to offer. "That is something that we are certainly open to and want to see.  And we are consulting closely with congressional leadership on the issue.  Again, it should not be used as a political brinksmanship."

Unfortunately, Jean-Pierre isn't completely wrong when it comes to her mention of Republicans. 

In October and December of last year, enough Senate Republicans voted to do away with the filibuster in order for Democrats to be able to raise the debt ceiling with the simple majority they had, per an agreement between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Many were less than thrilled with McConnell for coming to such a deal, including former and potentially future President Donald Trump, who has feuded with McConnell on this and countless other topics. 

Further, while the filibuster was only done away with temporarily for this specific issue, some have pointed to this instance for their benefit when it comes to nuking the filibuster on issues they are about, such as legislation on voting. 


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