Blackburn, Senate GOP conference members oppose debt-ceiling hike without reforms first

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 23 of her Senate Republican Conference colleagues expressed “outright opposition” to a debt-ceiling hike without systemic reform that reduces deficit spending and “brings fiscal sanity back to Washington.”

“Our nation’s fiscal policy is a disaster,” wrote Sen. Blackburn and the conference members in a Jan. 27 letter sent to President Joe Biden. “We do not intend to vote for a debt-ceiling increase without structural reforms to address current and future fiscal realities, actually enforce the budget and spending rules on the books, and manage out-of-control government policies.” 

Among the lawmakers who joined Sen. Blackburn in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Tim Scott (R-SC), who wrote that the nation currently owes $31 trillion in debt, which now exceeds the size of the country’s economy, while inflation continues to challenge everyday Americans’ spending.

Sen. Blackburn and the other signatories intend to abide by their conference’s policy, which states that “any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by cuts in federal spending of an equal or greater amount as the debt ceiling increase, or meaningful structural reform in spending, such as the Prevent Government Shutdown Act or the Full Faith and Credit Act,” they wrote.

Sen. Blackburn is one of eight Republican original cosponsors of the Full Faith and Credit Act, S. 82, which U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) sponsored on Jan. 25 to protect Social Security benefits and military pay and require that the United States government prioritize all obligations on the debt held by the public in the event that the debt limit is reached, according to the text of the bill.

S. 82 is currently on the U.S. Senate legislative calendar awaiting action.

“Americans are keenly aware that their government is not only failing to work for them, but actively working against them,” Sen. Blackburn and her colleagues wrote to Biden. “We intend to stand by [Senate Republican Conference] policy.”