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Psaki rails against senators for treating debt ceiling debate like a ‘game’

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White House press secretary reads out quotes from GOP senators at podium

White House slams Republicans treating potential Government shutdown ‘like a DC Game’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki hammered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators on Thursday for quotes she said were indicative that the party was treating a potential economic collapse caused by the US defaulting on its debt like a “game”.

From the White House press podium at Thursday’s briefing, she read out statements from several Republicans, stating that they were “playing politics with an economic catastrophe” and “treating a calamity for working families like a DC game”.

“Let me give you some examples. Senator Rick Scott, and this is a real quote I will note: ‘This is going to be a real ball. I’m going to have so much fun.’ That’s about the debt limit. Senator Kevin Cramer: ‘This is going to be fun to watch.’”

The escalated rhetoric from the White House comes after weeks of gentle nudging on the issue from Biden administration officials and congressional Democrats, who have noted repeatedly that both parties have voted on a bipartisan basis to extend the debt limit in the past.

Many are also noting the less-than-truthful way that some have attempted to tie the need to extend the debt ceiling to the $3.5 trillion infrastructure reconciliantion package and related $1 trillion bipartisan compromise package; in reality, even if both packages failed, the debt ceiling would need to be increased to prevent the US from defaulting on its debts.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned this week that defaulting on the US debt would lead to immediate recession, with millions of jobs lost overnight as the US is still struggling to recover from an economic downturn that occurred over 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic hit US shores.

Some of the immediate danger passed on Thursday as the Senate and subsequently the House too voted to approve a stopgap bill funding the US government until 3 December. That can has been kicked down the road, while the fight over the debt ceiling limit still looms.

Some Democrats have suggested that GOP resistance to raising the debt limit will weaken in the days ahead, with senators unlikely to vote for raising the debt ceiling but possibly relenting and allowing Democrats to do it without a filibuster threat.

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