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How Kevin McCarthy's Debt-Limit Austerity Wastes Taxpayer Dollars
Congress's resistance to signing a clean debt-ceiling bill has already cost the Treasury $328 million. His debt ceiling would waste $115 billion more on oil companies and tax cheats.
“I still think we’re far apart,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Monday about the debt limit. Which is to say that the White House wants to raise the debt limit so Congress can pay its bills, and Congress doesn’t want to unless it can attach enormous spending cuts that not even McCarthy’s own caucus would support if they thought they had a chance in hell of becoming law.
The irony is that McCarthy’s austerity campaign, which would be better attached to budget negotiations than to debt-ceiling negotiations, is kind of expensive. It’s hard to tell what items in his debt-ceiling bill are serious and which aren’t, but the legislation contains $430 million in giveaways to the oil industry, including a reduction in royalty rates for oil drilling on federal land, and a clawback of $71 billion of the $80 billion that last year’s climate bill spent on the Internal Revenue Service, which, the Congressional Budget Office says, would drain $115 billion from the Treasury.
If that’s too speculative for you, the “extraordinary measures” in place since January to forestall default have already cost $328 million, which may not sound like much in a $6 trillion budget but represents, for example, most of this year’s budget request for the Peace Corps. There’s more to say about this, and I do in my latest New Republic piece. You can read it here.
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