McCarthy Grilled on CNBC For Trump-Era Votes to Decrease Taxes While Increasing Debt Ceiling


CNBC host Sara Eisen took Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to task on Monday after the Republican leader addressed the New York Stock Exchange and blasted President Joe Biden for waiting for a Republican budget proposal to begin negotiations on the debt ceiling. Eisen grilled McCarthy on his past votes to increase the debt ceiling while cutting taxes under the Trump administration after McCarthy accused Biden of being fiscally reckless.

The interview began with Squawk on the Street co-anchor Carl Quintanilla asking McCarthy about his message to Wall Street.

“What is your message upstairs? What was your message and how do you think markets should be responding to it right now?” Quintanilla asked.

“Well, look, 75 days ago, February 1st, I sat down with this president and I sat down to him and I said, let’s work together to be able to deal with the debt ceiling and our economy at the same time, the same thing that we’ve done all in the past, as you’ve mentioned, and for 75 days, he’s ignored us,” McCarthy replied, echoing his earlier speech.

“I want to find a responsible, sensible way to do this. My message upstairs is, if the president won’t pay attention to this, if he doesn’t believe they can find $1 in savings, Republicans in the next couple of weeks will act and send a debt ceiling increase that will limit, save and grow,” Mcarthy continued, adding:

That will help us on economic growth in this country, will cap spending in the future. We’ll pull back, claw back the money we appropriated for Covid, but has sat dormant for two years. If it was appropriate to help you during Covid and you haven’t spent it, it shouldn’t be spent afterwards. So, [we want to] find the ways we can save the taxpayer money.

Find a way that we can grow this economy, become less dependent upon China, curb our spending in the future so we can curve inflation to help every family. And I think that’s sensible and responsible. And we’d move the debt ceiling into the next year. If the president doesn’t want to take action, we’ll send this over to the Senate

“But there is an appropriations committee and a budget for that. For all of this, the fiscal year ends in the end of September. Why not deal with spending cuts and negotiate with the president there? Why negotiate over the debt ceiling, which is much more dangerous?” Eisen followed up.

“It’s not dangerous at all, especially when you sit down on February 1st. Remember the budget is different than a debt ceiling. A budget resolution is not like in a state capital. The budget never even goes to the president. So for the president to say, do a budget, that makes no sense,” McCarthy replied, adding:

What you want to do is sit down with a debt ceiling, just as America has done right. When President Biden was a senator four times, he voted to increase the debt ceiling only if it included fiscal changes. The times he voted against the debt ceiling is because he said there wasn’t enough, fiscal economic change. And think about it. A debt ceiling is like giving your child a credit card and they charge the limit all the way up. Would you just raise the limit? No. You would stop it.

Eisen interjected, “If it meant playing with America’s standing, full faith and credit of U.S. government debt. I feel like you can deal with the spending in other ways, which is totally legitimate.”

“So if you just raise the debt ceiling, do you think $31 trillion of debt, the CBO has come out in the next ten years, do you know we will pay ten point five…” McCarthy replied as he was cut off.

“You did it three times in the Trump administration,” Eisen noted.

“As we did economic changes. We never raised the debt ceiling by itself,” McCarthy shot back.

“But the tax cuts, that was like $2 trillion,” Eisen replied, noting McCarthy voted to cut government revenue while increasing the debt ceiling.

“And you know how much we’re bringing in, in revenue? On average in the 50-year average in America, you bring 17% of GDP. Today we’re bringing 20. That’s the, only two other times in modern history in America have you ever brought 20% of GDP,” McCarthy responded, adding:

That’s because the tax cuts actually created economy to grow and brought more revenue into the economy. But the problem is not amount of much money we’re bringing in where the president just wants to raise more taxes. It’s our spending. On 50 year average. We normally only spend 21% of GDP. Right now we’re spending 23.6 on our way to 25. So if you don’t tackle the spending problem, you’re never and if you if you ignore this problem and you just raise the debt ceiling, our debt is now $31 trillion. It’s bigger than our entire economy by 20%. You’re at a tipping point.

Watch the full clip above via CNBC.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under:

Alex Griffing is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Send tips via email: Follow him on Twitter: @alexgriffing