ABC Presses Sec. Yellen to Back Harebrained Dem Schemes for Debt Ceiling

With Congress’s debate on the debt ceiling pushed back to December 3, ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos invited Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen onto Sunday’s This Week in order to pressure her into going along with absurd schemes Democrats were cooking up to deal with the national debt. From a trillion-dollar coin to invoking an archaic part of the 14th Amendment, he wanted her onboard and in Biden’s ear.

Stephanopoulos began their conversation by declaring “we all dodged a bullet this week” after some Republicans went along with a temporary raise of the ceiling. “But Senator McConnell has warned President Biden that Republicans won’t help next time on the debt limit,” he said. “What are the consequences if he keeps his word?”

A couple of minutes later, he was nudging her to get President Biden to go along with her preferred solution, which was eliminating the debt ceiling altogether:

But, you know, Madam Secretary, we have seen the cycle so many times. At some point votes just aren’t going to be there. Congress is going to make a mistake, a miscalculation. I know you support eliminating the debt limit. Have you convinced the President to back you on that?

But while he was concerned about what fiscal problems default would bring, he didn’t seem to question what issues would arise if we suddenly declared no limit to or debt. His premise centered on a world of extremes.

After Yellen got done calling the raising of the debt limit a “housekeeping chore” of Congress, Stephanopoulos chided her by suggesting that “others say it’s a charade at this point.” “Why not consider alternatives,” he wondered, then he floated the ridiculous idea of a “trillion-dollar coin” because “several members of Congress have recommended” it.

“I think it’s a gimmick,” Yellen denounced. “And it jeopardizes the independence of the Federal Reserve. You would be asking to essentially print money to cover the deficit.”

After she pushed back on that harebrained idea, he came back with yet another one: invoking a sliver of the 14th Amendment. And for those unfamiliar with what he’s talking about, it’s the first part of Section 4:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

And of all the crazy ideas, that was the one Stephanopoulos latched onto. “You don’t want to be there, but there is a pretty decent chance you’re going to be on December 3rd. Is invoking the 14th Amendment on the table if Congress doesn’t act,” he pressed again. Yellen essentially had to remind him that Congress had the power of the purse.

He even shared his concern for the future of Biden’s agenda. “Democrats are negotiating over the size of the plan right now, trying to get an agreement over around $2 trillion rather than the $3.5 trillion that President Biden proposed,” he prefaced. “Is the best way to do that by eliminating whole programs or trimming everything?

He didn’t even try to mask his intentions.

ABC’s backing of Democratic harebrained schemes to deal with the debt was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Ring and CarFax. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they fund.

The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s This Week
October 10, 2021
9:02:23 a.m. Eastern

(…)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So, we all dodged a bullet this week. But Senator McConnell has warned President Biden that Republicans won’t help next time on the debt limit. I want to read part of the letter to President Biden. Quote, “I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement. Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claim they lacked to address the debt ceiling through stand-alone reconciliation and all the tools to do it.”

What are the consequences if he keeps his word?

SEC. JANET YELLEN (Treasury): Well, it is absolutely imperative that we raise the debt ceiling. Debt’s necessary not to fund any new spending programs, but to pay the bills that result from congress’ past decisions.

(…)

9:04:16 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you know, madam Secretary, we have seen the cycle so many times. At some point votes just aren’t going to be there. Congress is going to make a mistake, a miscalculation. I know you support eliminating the debt limit. Have you convinced the President to back you on that?

YELLEN: Well, look, it is really up to Congress. I – Yes, I have said I support personally getting rid of the debt ceiling.

(…)

9:05:15 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: You call it housekeeping chore. Others say it’s a charade at this point. Why not consider alternatives? You know, several members of Congress have recommended this trillion dollar coin.

YELLEN: Well, I wouldn’t be supportive of a trillion dollar coin. I think it’s a gimmick. And it jeopardizes the independence of the Federal Reserve. You would be asking to essentially print money to cover the deficit.

(…)

9:06:07 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about invoking the 14th Amendment, as justification for continued borrowing? The text is pretty clear, “the validity of the public debt of the United States should not be questioned.” Why not invoke that?

YELLEN: Well, because it is Congress’s responsibility to show that they have the determination to pay the bills that the government amasses. We shouldn’t be in a position where we need to consider whether or not the 14th amendment applies. That’s a disastrous situation that the country shouldn’t be in.

(…)

9:07:10 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you know, there is a pretty decent — you don’t want to be there, but there is a pretty decent chance you’re going to be on December 3rd. Is invoking the 14th Amendment on the table if Congress doesn’t act?

YELLEN: I don’t believe any president has ever had to make a decision about what they would do if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling. I can’t imagine our being there on December 3. I have confidence that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer will be able to manage this so that we don’t face this situation.

(…)

9:08:11 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course, tied to this is the President’s build back better plan as well. Democrats are negotiating over the size of the plan right now, trying to get an agreement over around $2 trillion rather than the $3.5 trillion that President Biden proposed. Is the best way to do that by eliminating whole programs or trimming everything?

YELLEN: Well, you know, different people, different members of Congress have different views on that.

(…)

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