On Monday, Representatives Boyle, Jayapal, and Kuster began circulating an important sign-on letter to their fellow Democratic Members of Congress (MoCs). It’s a public statement by all who sign that House Dems stand united against Republican attempts to slash Social Security and Medicare (or drive the US to default on our debts if those Republicans don’t get their way).
The debt ceiling fight is shaping up to be one of the most important legislative battles of 2023. As a quick reminder, the US (like many countries around the world) runs a budget deficit and relies on treasury debt to fund itself. Historically, the debt ceiling was lifted as a matter of practical importance (the US has never defaulted on its debt). In more recent years, and increasingly since Obama’s presidency, Republicans have wielded the threat of a default in order to push extreme policy goals. (Read more about the debt ceiling here.)
In his State of the Union speech, Biden engaged directly with unruly Republicans, backing them into a corner, turning their own boos against them, and making them publicly refute their own plans to cut Social Security and Medicare. It was a great moment. But sadly, Republicans don’t always stick to the commitments they make while heckling important government proceedings. And shortly after, some were already waffling.
So make no mistake: The threat of a default is real, and the risks to Social Security and Medicare are real.
MAGA Republicans will do whatever they can to attempt to undercut Democrats, even at the expense of the American people. If we default on our loans, it will have immediate and devastating consequences on the global economy — affecting our credit rating, broadly increasing interest rates, and making it impossible for the government to carry out basic functions.
Republicans are threatening the global economy to score political victories against Democrats, but they don’t have the power to win.
While the most extreme members of their caucus could care less about the pain and chaos regular folks would experience if the GOP caused a default, many of them know they’ve embraced a reckless and deeply unpopular position. A default hurts constituents in every district: missed veterans benefits, no Social Security checks, families who rely on rental or nutrition assistance being left in the lurch, and more — not to mention an economic downturn throwing people out of work. There’s no reason Democrats should cave to Republican demands to cut vital programs when those Republicans are so far out of touch with reality. That’s why Democrats need to remain united in demanding a clean debt ceiling increase.
How you can help:
- Call your Democratic representative and tell them to add their name to the House letter defending Social Security and Medicare. Republicans are threatening to hold the world economy hostage. Democrats need to stay strong and join President Biden in saying we’re not negotiating with hostage-takers. Every Democratic member who signs onto this letter makes it clearer to Republicans that Dems won’t cave and clearer to all Americans that the Democratic Party can be counted on to protect Medicare and Social Security.
- Write a letter to the editor (LTE) to encourage your Democratic MoC not to negotiate with MAGA hostage-takers. As the Republican party continues its descent into the clutches of MAGA extremists, Democrats must stay strong — and that includes their constituents. Write an LTE to show your MoC (and your community) that you will not sit idly by as Republicans hold critical American programs hostage. Millions of Americans count on these life-saving programs — including folks in our communities and districts — and we need to raise as much public attention on this threat as we can. We’ll win this fight together!
As we get closer to a potential default in the next few months, the attention on the debt ceiling fight will only increase, as will the pressure on MoCs to come to a deal. If we put in the work now, we can ensure that our representatives are prepared to hold strong and not sacrifice vital programs for the American people in the name of unrelated compromise. Call your Democratic representative today!