With the clock ticking and the United States careening toward defaulting on its debts, the stalemate on Capitol Hill continues.
"Avoid a default at all costs — that is not what the House Republicans are saying," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, (D) Maryland. "They're saying if you don't adopt our plan, we will default. That is reckless."
"We have never had a backroom meeting to talk about these things, to negotiate, to talk about how we're going to rein in spending," said Sen. Mitt Romney, (R) Utah.
Among the witnesses was a top economist who testified that America could hit the debt ceiling by early June, an occurrence that would result in surging unemployment and job losses.
"We need to end this drama as quickly as possible. If we don't, we're going to go into recession, and our fiscal challenges will be made even worse," said Dr. Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics.
The American public is caught in the middle of the back and forth between lawmakers.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Scripps News the Republican plan would mean major cuts to infrastructure projects.
"We estimate a 22% cut from where we are right now," Buttigieg said. "We need to be growing air traffic control just to keep up, not cutting it. We need to be increasing railroad safety after everything we've learned, not cutting it. We gotta get away from this brinkmanship and the idea that if I don't get my way, I'm gonna blow up the whole economy, which is what the Republican threat of throwing us into default would amount to."
But Republicans say it's vital to raise the nation's debt ceiling and address the nation's growing budget at the same time.
"It's time for President Biden and Biden Senate Democrats to come to a realization that their reckless and irresponsible strategy of delay has failed and begin negotiations in earnest," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R) Iowa. "No longer can Biden Democrats ignore that over the next 10 years, deficits will average $2 trillion."
After weeks of partisan bomb-throwing but no negotiations, President Joe Biden is set to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other congressional leaders at the White House next week.
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