By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis criticized her congressional colleagues on Thursday when she pointed out that despite numerous conversations about raising the nation’s debt limit, no one is discussing the debt itself.
Lummis took to the floor to condemn the reckless spending in Congress without any acknowledgement of the continual growth of the national debt.
“I’m a rancher and I often think about policy in ranching terms,” Lummis said. “This is all hat, no cattle politics. We’re starting down a track of a $29 trillion national debt.”
According to CNBC, the ceiling prevents the U.S. Treasury from issuing new bonds to fund government activities once a certain debt level, or date, is reached.
Lummis said when she first came to Congress in 2009, the national debt was just under $10 trillion, which she said at the time seemed “insurmountable.”
Now, the debt has nearly tripled in a little more than a decade.
Lummis paraphrased a popular meme of activist Jimmy McMillan during her speech, saying “The debt is too dang high.”
She said that Congress could not go on spending the way it was without addressing the nation’s debt to its gross domestic product ratio.
She pointed to the proposed $3 trillion spending plan, the 10-year Build Back Better Act that would fund everything from free community college to expanded Medicare, as one of the most irresponsible decisions that Congress and President Joe Biden could make.
“The fact of the matter is unless we actually address the spending problems that are driving our national debt, we are already saddling future generations of people in my state of Wyoming and all the American people with a debt that they will never be ably to repay,” Lummis said. “Soon, interest payments on that debt will crowd out other spending.”
The senator noted that the only reason the interest payments have not overtaken the main debt bill is because interest rates have been relatively low. But, the nation will have to pay back interest before paying for other things, including the items in the spending bill.
“We cannot go on like this,” Lummis said. “It is irresponsible at the deepest levels. I believe this is unforgivable.”
Congress raised the debt ceiling in 2017 under former President Donald Trump, but Lummis said that congressional Democrats left congressional Republicans to be the ones to make the decision on raising the debt ceiling alone. Now, congressional Democrats were used to seeing the debt ceiling raised.
“The problem is that both when Republicans have been in the majority and have raised the debt ceiling, and now Democrats are in the majority and are going to raise the debt ceiling, neither party seems to talk about the debt,” Lummis said. “They only talk about raising the debt ceiling.”
This week, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney voiced similar sentiments on two Wyoming TV news outlets about the debt ceiling and wasteful spending.
“The spending that we’re seeing is so significant and so huge and comes at a moment where it will fundamentally restructure our economy, fundamentally restructure the relationship between the government and individuals in a way that’s very negative,” she said. “I would hope that it would cause some reflection for people to say, ‘We can’t afford this level of spending.’ And it’s not good for the country, and it’s not good for our freedoms. It’s not good for our constitutional rights to have the federal government play such an expansive role in terms of this massive overreach that these bills will entail.”