‘Irresponsible Beyond Words’: Pelosi Doubles Down On Slamming GOP’s Debt Ceiling Brinksmanship

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks at a news conference on the "Women's Health Protection Act," on September 24, 2021, outside the US Capitol in Washington DC. - The act would establ... US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks at a news conference on the "Women's Health Protection Act," on September 24, 2021, outside the US Capitol in Washington DC. - The act would establish a federally protected right to abortion access. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 26, 2021 1:13 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday reiterated her criticism of Republicans’ brinksmanship on the debt ceiling amid their refusal to help their Democratic colleagues with suspending it, despite having voted to raise the debt ceiling throughout the Trump administration.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Pelosi was asked whether she has confidence that the government will avoid default, given how Republicans have made clear that the suspension of the debt ceiling through Dec. 2022 is dead on arrival in the Senate.

Pelosi replied that Republicans’ standoff on the debt ceiling is “irresponsible beyond words.”

“The full faith and credit of the United States should not be questioned,” Pelosi said. “That’s in the Constitution of the United States, the 14th Amendment. Go look at that. It’s in the Constitution of the United States.”

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Pelosi insisted that the votes are there to raise the debt ceiling, citing the three times Democrats voted alongside Republicans in lifting it during Trump’s presidency.

“Even to have the discussion that it could possibly be in default, it lowers our — it did the last time lowered our credit rating,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi then jabbed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by pointing out the irony in his remarks last week telling Democrats to not play “Russian roulette” with the economy and to raise the debt ceiling on their own.

Pressed on whether Democrats can pass a suspension of the debt ceiling on their own, Pelosi replied that Democrats would prefer to raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan manner, which is why it wasn’t included in the reconciliation bill.

“That would have been a decision we had to make when we wrote the budget out,” Pelosi said. “But nonetheless, the decision was made that it would always be bipartisan, whether on our part as we have cooperated in the past with Republican presidents or on their part.”

Pelosi reiterated that Republicans’ standoff on the debt ceiling is “totally irresponsible” and that she hopes that the business community would speak out on the impasse due to its “devastating impact” on the country’s credit rating as well as global economy.

“So let’s hope that the Republicans will find some — enough of them, find some level of responsibility to our country to honor what’s in the Constitution, that we not question the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” Pelosi said. “They know full well what the consequences are. They preached it when the former president was in office, and we always cooperated. It’s always been bipartisan, and it should be again.”

Earlier in the interview, Pelosi also said that it “seems self-evident” that the final price tag for the Democrats’ reconciliation bill would be smaller than $3.5 trillion originally proposed, following the House Budget Committee’s vote to advance the spending bill and send it to the House floor, despite how the package is still not finalized amid disagreements between moderate and progressive Democrats.

“Yeah that seems self-evident. That seems self-evident” Pelosi said, when asked if there would potentially be a lower price tag for the reconciliation package. “I think even those who want a smaller number support the vision of the President.”

Pelosi added that a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill “may be” on Monday — the date by which some House centrists are demanding a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal — but only if she has the votes to pass it. Progressives, such as Rep. Jamila Prayapal (D-WA), have maintained that they will not vote for the bipartisan legislation unless it is linked with the larger reconciliation package. 

Last week, Pelosi ripped Republicans’ brinksmanship on the debt ceiling during a weekly press conference. The House speaker reminded reporters that Democrats have voted alongside Republicans to raise the debt ceiling throughout the Trump administration.

“The full faith and credit is a national debate. Why should it be that we as Democrats always come to the rescue when it’s a Republican president?” Pelosi said. “We’re not coming to the rescue of the President — we’re coming to the rescue of our economy, of families and the interest they pay on loans, and their job security and the rest of that. That’s the debate that we have to have.”

Watch Pelosi’s remarks below:

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