Yellen backs idea of removing Congress' authority over debt limit, as default deadline nears

Yellen has warned of dire financial consequences if the debt limit is not increased and the country cannot repay its debts.

Updated: October 1, 2021 - 8:09am

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday she would like to see Congress’ power over debt limits taken away from the legislative body, as the federal government's borrowing power is set to expire Oct. 18. 

Yellen, who has warned of dire financial consequences if the United States' debt limit is not increased, and the country cannot repay its debts, also said, "yes I would" when asked by Congress whether she supports a recently proposed House bill to repeal the national debt ceiling, according to CNBC.

She argued Congress makes the decisions on taxes and spending, so it should also provide the ability to pay those obligations.

"If to finance those spending and tax decisions, it's necessary to issue additional debt, I believe it’s very disruptive to put the president and myself, the Treasury secretary, in a situation where we might be unable to pay the bills that result from those past decisions," she said in response to a question from Rep. Sean Casten, an Illinois Democrat.

However, Casten said he was asking Yellen about the concept of removing the debt ceiling and not the particular bill.

The U.S. is $28.4 trillion in debt, nearly $700 billion of which has been incurred since President Biden took office and chose Yellen to head the Treasury. The budget deficit through the first 10 months of the fiscal year stood at $2.71 trillion, CNBC also reports. 

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