Over a dozen people turned out in downtown Sioux Falls on Tuesday morning to march from the office of Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-SD, to the office of Sen. Mike Rounds, R-SD, to protest the impending debt default if Congress and the White House are unable to raise the debt limit.
Common Grounds Indivisible SD, a non-partisan organization dedicated to resisting policies it feels are harmful to the United States, according to its website, hosted the rally to raise awareness about what they see as a hostage negotiation between the GOP and President Joe Biden.
“We’re upset that [Congress] is not willing to pay their bills,” said Sheryl Johnson, a spokesperson for the group. “They’ve passed budgets in the past, they’ve always voted to pass it and it’s increased our debt. And now that the bill comes due, they’re not willing to pay it. We’re just tired of them playing games with our economy.”
What is the debt limit?
President Biden and Congress have until June 1 to raise the limit on the country’s debt, which limits how much the country can borrow to pay bills, or else risk a default. Currently, the debt ceiling sits at $31.4 trillion.
In April, the GOP-controlled House passed a debt ceiling bill that would sharply cut government spending while raising the debt ceiling. Since then, leaders in the House and Senate have been engaged in negotiations with the White House to figure out a deal.
Biden has criticized the cuts to spending, calling them “unacceptable,” according to USA Today.
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, met with Biden Monday to discuss the default and said “I believe we can get it done,” according to USA Today.
The country has never defaulted on its debt in history and it’s up in the air what could happen.
Well, what’s the worse case scenario?
First the stock market could crash, sending the economy into disarray impacting jobs and finances.
Interest rates could go up resulting in higher home loan rates and new monthly mortgage rates, according to USA Today.
Additionally people receiving government checks such as Medicare benefits, Social Security, military salaries and tax refunds could all be stopped. Federal workers and federal contractors could also see their paychecks paused if the country defaults.
So why does Common Grounds Indivisible SD care?
Johnson said that the group wanted to send a message to Rep. Johnson and Sen. Rounds.
“Stop playing games with our economy, pass the debt ceiling with a clean bill and then let’s negotiate the budget,” she said.
For Denise Kruse, 68, from Sioux Falls, who was at the rally, she’s angry.
“[I’m] just tired of the anxiety the Republicans subject us to all the time and I’m sick of it,” she said, adding that she hoped to retire by the end of the year and was worried about her retirement fund and social security benefits.
Patricia Brennan said that she hoped lawmakers could figure out a way for the country to pay its debts.
“I want our politicians to start doing their jobs for us as citizens and not constantly be in this turmoil,” the 75-year-old Sioux Falls resident said.
What’s the response from lawmakers?
Rep. Johnson said he was disappointed the protesters were relying on what he called a bad set of facts.
“We’ve already passed a bill out of the House that raises the debt ceiling,” he told the Argus Leader Tuesday. “I think that shows the Republican commitment to getting this done the right way.”
He added there seemed to be a consensus in Congress and with Biden that a clean debt ceiling bill may not be possible.
In the debt ceiling bill that passed in April, Johnson had sponsored a portion of the bill that would update language for SNAP work requirements.
Rep. Johnson also acknowledged that the country was facing two crises: the debt ceiling and the $32 trillion in debt.
“We are at an inflection point,” he said, explaining that the country had spent $3 trillion on interest in the past 10 years. “For those protestors, I would say if you’re actually concerned about the solvency of this country, if you actually want to make sure that we continue to do right by the neediest of Americans, then you should join our cause in trying to return fiscal sanity to Washington because business as usual drives our country into bankruptcy.”
Sen. Rounds’s office did not respond to comment in time for publication.
Source : Argusleader