Republican Senator Denounces GOP Plan To Use Debt Ceiling As Leverage To Gut Spending

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

During an interview with a local newspaper that was published on Tuesday, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) distanced herself from her party’s plan to use the fast-approaching debt ceiling as leverage to secure deep cuts in domestic spending. Murkowski is the first Republican to denounce Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan to block a vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to billions in spending cuts:

Murkowski, at a News-Miner editorial board meeting on Jan. 9, said she doesn’t think the debt limit should be used for political leverage. Since borrowing will be required to pay off debts the country has already incurred, she said it would reflect badly on the U.S. to leave its willingness to pay those bills in doubt. […]

Murkowski said not all of her colleagues in the Senate will say it out loud, but she believes most agree that failing to raise the debt limit would harm perception of the country.

“If you incur an obligation, you have a responsibility to pay for that,” Murkowski said.

The latest estimate from the Bipartisan Policy Center suggests that the United States could hit its borrowing limit in a month. Last year, Republican opposition to increasing the debt ceiling cost taxpayers an estimated $18.9 billion and as many as 1 million jobs. Playing another game of chicken this year would have similarly devastating consequences.


Another Republican senator on Tuesday distanced herself from the GOP’s plan to hold the debt ceiling hostage. Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) office emailed The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, saying:

Senator Collins recognizes that the debt ceiling is going to have to be raised because the U.S. cannot default on its obligations to pay for spending that has already occurred.

But she is frustrated that the Administration, time and time again, keeps putting off the hard decisions on spending that our country must confront

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