As they brace for a Biden-Harris administration, Republicans in Congress are turning to a familiar bogeyman.
As it becomes clear that Donald Trump will lose the White House to Joe Biden, Republicans have returned to one of their favorite pastimes: stoking fears about the national debt.
Senate Republicans have resumed their calls to cut government spending despite the U.S. economy's continued free fall during the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned that the economy's downward spiral will only continue if the federal government fails to act.
"The expansion is still far from complete," Powell told members of the National Association for Business Economics. "Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses. Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy, and holding back wage growth."
Powell added: "The right thing to do and the smart thing to do in the long run is to support those people as they return to their old jobs or find new jobs."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his GOP colleagues have ignored economists' warnings, arguing that the U.S. government can somehow cut its way to economic prosperity.
"If we keep the Senate — which I think we will — and I become budget chairman, I'd like to create a dialogue about how can we finally begin to address the debt," Graham told Roll Call on Friday. "You'll see from me a reliable conservative, vote. You'll see from me, stopping an agenda I think is bad for the country."
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the U.S. economy is "really moving" toward recovery.
"I did think the unemployment figure this morning of 6.9% is a stunning indication of a dramatic comeback of the economy," McConnell (R-KY) said at a press conference. "That coupled with the Gross Domestic Product growth in third-quarter indicates that our economy is really moving to get back on its feet."
With Democrats poised to retake the White House, Republicans in Congress have signaled a return to their strategy of crying wolf about the national debt to refuse any and every Democratic proposal that comes to the floor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hit back at Republican officials on Friday.
"Sadly, instead of crushing the virus, it appears that the Trump administration will use its final moments in office and a desperate last step to destroy every possible protection for American health and wellbeing," Pelosi said.
"While we prepare for the new Biden administration, we must also move swiftly for a new Coronavirus Relief Bill, so we can do that. We want the Republicans to come back to the table, the White House leadership, whatever. For two days in a row, over 100,000 cases were reported. The imperative to act could not be greater."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.