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McConnell confident U.S. will not default on debt as nation reaches debt ceiling

McConnell's remarks follow his support of an omnibus spending package late last year that set the federal budget for 2023 and left House Republicans with little leverage.

Published: January 19, 2023 3:06pm

Updated: January 19, 2023 3:31pm

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday vowed that the United States would never default on its outstanding debt as the nation reached its debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday announced that the nation had reached its $31.38 trillion debt ceiling and that her agency had implemented "extraordinary measures" to prevent a default.

"In the end, I think the important thing to remember is that America must never default on its debt. It never has, and it never will. We'll end up in some kind of negotiation with the administration over what the circumstances or conditions under which the debt ceiling be raised," the Kentucky Republican said, according to The Hill. "No, I would not be concerned about a financial crisis."

An intense congressional battle over raising the debt limit will likely soon ensue, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously made policy and rules concessions to his conservative detractors as part of the lengthy House leadership contest that ultimately saw him claim the gavel.

Democrats have already rejected matched spending cuts, a key proposal of the Republicans, instead backing a simple increase to the debt limit. McCarthy has indicated a willingness to negotiate with President Joe Biden on the issue though the White House has rebuffed the idea of making any concessions.

"There's going to be no negotiation over it," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre this week. The executive branch has backed a debt limit increase "without conditions." 

McConnell's remarks follow his support of an omnibus spending package late last year that set the federal budget for 2023 and left House Republicans with little leverage upon assuming the majority.

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