On Senate Floor: Shaheen Slams Hypocritical Republican Obstruction to Raise Debt Limit and Avoid Government Shutdown
**Shaheen Also Highlights How Republicans’ Partisan Gridlock is Compromising U.S. National Security with Delayed Confirmation Hearings and Political Grandstanding**
Senator Shaheen delivers remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon.
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon slamming Senate Republicans for their partisan obstruction that is threatening a government shutdown and also risks the U.S. to default on its financial obligations. Shaheen underscored the dangerous partisan politics at play, which risk shuttering critical government operations in the middle of a health and economic crisis, as well as the serious economic implications if Republicans prevent the U.S. from raising the debt ceiling to pay the bills it already owes. During the Trump administration, Democrats worked across the aisle three separate times with Republicans to raise the debt ceiling.
Shaheen warned of learning from past government shutdowns and what it means for U.S. financial stability as well as credibility around the world, saying, in part, “A government shutdown also means that we ask essential federal workers to work without pay. FBI agents, Border Patrol agents, TSA workers, weather forecasters – others would be forced to continue their essential work, and they would be doing it for IOUs… other countries don’t do this to themselves – government shutdowns put America behind. Look at government shutdown that we had that went from December 2018 to January 2019, the longest government shutdown in our history. And while our space scientists were at home, China landed the first rover on the dark side of the Moon...”
Senator Shaheen went on to highlight the gross hypocritical nature of Senate Republicans’ refusal to work in good faith with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, which is not about spending more to incur debt but rather to pay the bills the U.S. already owes. Shaheen said, “Minority Leader McConnell himself has voted to increase or suspend the debt limit 32 times. And when President Trump was in office, Democrats in this chamber – and I was one of them – supported raising the debt ceiling three times, because we understand that it is grossly irresponsible for us to renege on obligations that our government has already incurred… And now, because we have a Democratic president, Republicans are saying they won’t lift a finger to prevent this catastrophic outcome for our economy, for our currency, for the full faith and credit of the United States of America. This is not a game. The stability of our economy and the financial security of working Americans are at stake, and we have an obligation to pass legislation that’s been sent to us by the House to keep our government open and to raise the debt limit.”
Shaheen also pointed out that this partisan gridlock led by Senate Republicans risks U.S. national security. Republicans are purposefully slow-walking nomination hearings for qualified nominees for diplomatic posts around the world and placing holds on other confirmations for their own personal gain. Today, only two Ambassadors have been confirmed by the Senate, and the Biden administration had to wait over 200 days for its first Ambassador to be confirmed, compared to 62 for the Trump administration in the same period of time. For the first 300 days of the previous administration, 55 State Department nominees were confirmed by the Senate; as the first 300 days of Biden’s presidency approaches, this Senate has only confirmed 14 appointees. Shaheen said, “If Senators are concerned about our national security, they would match deeds with words and confirm career State Department nominees who have been waiting for months. And when we look at the increasing global threats to the United States, operating with a depleted diplomatic corps jeopardizes our national security, U.S. interests, and the safety of Americans at home and abroad. These political games are really risking serious consequences. It must stop.”
Shaheen closed her remarks with a call for a return to bipartisanship, which was evident during negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and during bipartisan talks that delivered emergency COVID relief.
Her remarks can be viewed in full here.