White House accuses House GOP of ’empowering China’ for insisting on spending cuts before raising debt ceiling

EXCLUSIVE: The White House is accusing House Republicans of “selling out the middle class” and “empowering China” by insisting on significant spending cuts before agreeing to raise the government’s borrowing limit.

The debt ceiling, which now sits at $31.381 trillion and was reached this week, is the legal limit on the total amount of debt that the federal government can borrow to fund everything from Social Security and Medicare benefits to military salaries to tax refunds and more.

FLASHBACK: REPUBLICANS EYE USING DEBT LIMIT HIKE TO OVERHAUL ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS IF ENTRUSTED WITH MAJORITY

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the Royal Castle, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland March 26, 2022.
(Reuters)

Republicans say now that the ceiling has been reached, it’s a good time to talk about agreeing to a more fiscally responsible plan that stops the rapid expansion of the national debt. But the White House said that putting any conditions on a higher debt ceiling limit is courting disaster.

“House Republicans should think very hard before they spend months telling the American people that they want to reverse the best unemployment rate in 50 years in order to slash Medicare and Social Security,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital. “Just like they should look in the mirror before they look constituents in the eye and say they want to reverse a record two years of job growth and small business applicants just to cut the earned benefits that every American has paid into over their entire working life.”

(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Between their threats to force a default catastrophe and their efforts to put inflation-worsening tax cuts for the rich on the country’s credit card, the House GOP’s agenda is a blueprint for selling out the American middle class and empowering China in the world economy,” Bates said.

GOP WANTS TO EMPOWER HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE TO CURB SPENDING, $31T NATIONAL DEBT

He added: “What elected leaders should be doing, regardless of party, is working with President Biden to strengthen the economic comeback his leadership is delivering.”

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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Congressional Republicans have said they will insist on deep spending cuts as a condition for raising the ceiling, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is urging the White House to begin negotiations. But the White House has said it will not bargain, and it has urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling “without condition.”

A spokesperson for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.