Skip to Main

June 15, 2023

Schweikert: ‘Armageddon’ Awaits if U.S. Continues to Borrow Debt at Unsustainable Pace

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) delivered a speech on the House Floor to discuss the differences in policies presented by House Republicans and Congressional Democrats when pressed up against the debt ceiling. Rep. Schweikert noted that Republicans exercised fiscal restraint in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, while Democrats extracted billions in additional spending in previous debt ceiling negotiations. Additionally, Rep. Schweikert warned that the U.S. cannot afford to continue borrowing money at unsustainable rates.

Excerpts from Rep. Schweikert’s floor speech can be found below:

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Schweikert’s remarks.

On Bloomberg Intelligence’s model showing debt-to-GDP will hit 130% in 10 years:

[Beginning at 5:37 mark]
“And then I have folks running around who are saying, ‘Look at our pretend budget!’ We can balance in 10 years. Absurd. The borrowing this year. Have you seen the numbers? You realize now you don’t do budgeting this way. We have a fiscal year, but year-to-date, so if you do a 12-month cycle, we have now borrowed $2.1 trillion this year. And that does not have the backfill of all the extraordinary measures that just are getting done right now. As now, the debt ceiling has been raised. $2.1 trillion is more than all [spending on] defense and all discretionary. Meaning everything you think of as government, the FBI, the White House, the Supreme Court, the State Department, all of it. All of government is functionally living on borrowed money. We weren’t supposed to hit that for about 9 more years. And we’ve already hit it this year. Look, I hope this is wrong. I desperately, desperately hope these numbers are wrong. But this was Bloomberg Intelligence — two of their lead economists saying when you put in these factors of the cuts in spending, which we have to do, but you’ve got to deal with the reality that it does slow down the economy. The higher interest rate costs, the dramatic increase in the utilization of health care, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid, but mostly Medicare. 130% of debt-to-GDP. That’s 9 budget years from now.”

On the Social Security Trust Fund running dry in 9 years:

[Beginning at 10:07 mark]
“How much discussion have any of us heard this week, last week, the week before that, behind these microphones about dramatically changing the cost of health care? Because when the President got behind that microphone during the State of the Union and said, ‘You’re not allowed to talk about Social Security!’, even though in 9 years the [Social Security] Trust Fund is gone and we double senior poverty. So if you’re on Social Security, understand, start planning for it, because we have made it radioactive here to even have an honest conversation about it. In 9 years, you take a 25% cut in your check. Therefore, we’re going to double senior poverty, and that’s the morality of the State of the Union we had. You’re not allowed to talk about it. We won’t cut. We won’t touch it by not working on it. Well, how about Medicare? The Medicare Trust Fund is also gone in this window, and the Medicare Trust Fund only pays for [about] 40% because it’s mostly the hospital portion. The rest comes right out of the general fund. So please understand when you read something like that, and CBO was over here originally before the debt ceiling agreement at 119% of GDP. They brought it down to 114%, and then the other analysts are saying, ‘Yeah, but you haven’t calculated the cost of higher interest. You haven’t calculated the fact that as you’re trying to start to slow down the growth of spending, you actually slow down the economy.’ And the health care costs are going off the charts.”

On the devastating consequences that would occur if the U.S. stays on track to borrow 13% of the economy, as projected:

[Beginning at 14:23 mark]
“We were projected in 9 years to be about 7-7.5% of the economy being borrowed. So you sort of see over here, we had that huge spike substantially because of COVID spending. But in 2023, we were supposed to be at 7.5% of the economy. The entire economy, United States federal government would be borrowing. But we are only growing at about 1.8%. So you remember that delta. Simple math, 1.8% and over here you’re borrowing 7.5%. But if we go back to what Bloomberg said, their economists [projected] in 10 years that’s not 7.5% of the economy being borrowed, that’s 13%. You’re growing at 1.8%, and you’re borrowing 13% of the economy. This is Armageddon and it’s in the 10-year window. And the clown show around here is either terrified to talk about it or we’re going to make up numbers. Unless you see budget documents talking about dramatically changing the cost of health care, this starts to become real. And all of a sudden running 7.5% of the economy and borrowing will look good because if we get up near 13% in a 10-year window, you think we’re going to have money for defense? You think you’re going to have money for education? You think you’re going to have money for research? Where are you going to have any cash at all? You’re going to be struggling for every dime you have to keep the retirement security benefits.”

On Republicans limiting spending growth in the Fiscal Responsibility Act:

[Beginning at 21:54 mark]
“I know that sounds like being a jerk, but you’ve got to understand, this place is incapable of doing adult work unless there’s a stressor, whether it be the budget or the debt ceiling. So I come here and ramble behind here. I bring my charts, I bring my calculator. I have my handful of economists from the Joint Economic Committee. We do our data. You preach it to your brothers and sisters, both on the Right and the Left, and they just stare at you. It’s not until you have something like the debt ceiling where everyone on financial television has their hair on fire, even though it’s mostly theater, because we have plenty of cash flow to cover the interest on our bonds, and it requires those inflections. But when we hit the debt ceiling when the Democrats controlled this place, they required more spending. Remember the 2019 debt ceiling agreements, that bipartisan agreement? It was scored by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget as costing — that Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat gang because they ran this place, they took a Republican president and said, ‘We won’t pass a debt ceiling unless you spend— in their number — $1.4 trillion. How many of you heard anyone talk about the fact that just a couple of years ago the Left demanded more spending by $1.4+ trillion more spending for them to vote out the debt ceiling? And then there’s rage from my brothers and sisters on the Left that we asked to flatten the spending growth. That is how duplicitous the media is here, and when you talk about numbers and they have lots of zeros, I think people immediately tune out and go hit their Netflix account. But here’s the history. When the Democrats have been in charge, and we’ve hit debt ceilings, it’s more spending. When the Republicans have been here, at least we’ve gotten some inflection of some fiscal sanity.”

Back to News