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Ramaswamy urges GOP to prioritize national debt over leadership 'sideshow'

"How do we confront that national debt problem? That's the question we need to answer," he insisted. "And until we do everything else is really just a sideshow."

Published: October 3, 2023 7:03pm

Ahead of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's historic ouster, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday urged Republicans to rally around their common positions and prioritize policy advancement over the "theatrics" of leadership struggles.

Eight House Republicans voted with Democrats to boot the California Republican from leadership of the lower chamber, citing their frustrations over his approach to budget negotiations and a litany of allegedly broken promises he made to his detractors to claim the gavel in the first place. The historic vote marked the first time in history that the House has removed a sitting speaker and set up a likely bitter battle to replace him within the Republican Conference.

Ramaswamy, for his part, opined that lawmakers would better serve the party's interests by focusing on legislative priorities and uniting behind the elephant banner.

"So look, I might take a step back and think about the Republican Party as one that obsesses over the who a little too much: Kevin McCarthy or somebody else, Ronna McDaniel or somebody else, Donald Trump or somebody else," he told Just the News shortly before the vote to remove the Speaker. "Let's focus on the what and the why. What do we stand for? Why do we stand for it? And let's think about what precipitated this conversation and get the best out of it."

"We have a national debt problem, $33 trillion in national debt, and we're talking about everything around that issue without actually talking about the substance of it," he asserted. "So what I've said is we needed zero-based budgeting in Washington, D.C. Start with zero as the baseline and then build up from that, instead of the broken budget that comes from last year."

"And I want to see the Republican Party move forward. Let's be the party of substance. Let's talk about what we stand for and why. Then the question of who is best positioned from President, to Speaker the House, to otherwise, automatically comes from that," Ramaswamy continued. "That's where I'm leading this party. That's where we need to go. And the theatrics of who is or isn't in which seat that matters less than the substance of the issue."

"How do we confront that national debt debt problem? That's the question we need to answer," he insisted. "And until we do everything else is really just a sideshow."

McCarthy's ouster followed Congress's last-minute passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government until the legislature could negotiate a full year's spending. Much of the shutdown drama stemmed from internal Republican divisions over the inclusion of additional funding to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. The final measure included no such funding.

Conservative Republicans, largely McCarthy critics, had held up earlier bills to avert a government shutdown by tanking procedural votes in a bid to secure both deeper spending cuts and the elimination of Ukraine aid. Motivating their actions in part were concerns over the mounting national debt, which they shared with Ramaswamy.

The presidential candidate, for his part, currently places fourth in the crowded Republican primary field, earning an average 5.2% support, according to RealClearPolitics.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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