ICYMI: Boyle Joins Squawk Box to Talk Debt Ceiling, Republican Brinkmanship

Apr 6, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — This morning, Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan F. Boyle, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, joined CNBC's Squawk Box to talk about the debt ceiling and the danger of Republicans' continued refusal to pay our bills:




ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: I think there’s a view on Wall Street right now that we’ve seen this movie, we know how it ends, it’s always this climactic situation that happens and then, invariably, a deal comes together — at least that’s the thinking. But there’s some view now that maybe this time is different. What do you think?


BRENDAN BOYLE: Good to be back with you. I’ve been saying ever since last November or December that my fear was this time could be different. I hope it isn't. But there's almost a danger in the fact that there has often before been this sort of drama and it ultimately gets resolved. It lulls people into thinking that surely, automatically, it will get resolved this time. Well, it isn't automatic.


And the reality is, see this situation a lot more like August of 2011, when Tea Party Republicans had just won control of the House of Representatives, and really, for the first time in American history, made the debt ceiling part of our political fight. Up until then it had really been a non-event.


I think that Speaker McCarthy is also in a very difficult position, politically. He made so many different promises to different groups in order to finally be elected Speaker. He's just having the toughest time satisfying those demands either when it comes to passing a budget or to putting a bill on the floor — clean — to raise the debt ceiling.


SORKIN: Okay, so with that analysis, how does it end?


BOYLE: Look, at the end of the day, there's only one way this can end: and that is a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling. Period. There is no other way. 


I know some people want to talk about minting a trillion-dollar coin, or invoking the 14th Amendment — you know better than I, the markets wouldn't swallow that. It just wouldn't be seen as credible. 


SORKIN: Congressman, those things may not happen, but I do think there's a question about whether there can be a conversation or a deal made that does have to do with reducing costs, trying to do something about the deficit. Do you think that is something that can even be on the table?


BOYLE: Right, let's be clear though — I'm glad Kevin McCarthy has finally come around and acknowledged that the debt ceiling and the budget debate are two separate things. Even he acknowledged and said they're like apples and oranges. The debt ceiling is about paying debt we already racked up, period. It has to happen. Now, talking about next year's budget and over the next 10 years, that's a debate that I welcome. It has to happen anyway because we have to pass a budget by midnight September 30th, so that is going to happen.


SORKIN: But you think that they are not going to be connected at all and they shouldn’t be? And why shouldn’t they be? I mean, there are all sorts of things, unfortunately, in Congress that aren’t connected that get connected. 


BOYLE: Except for the times that they don’t.


SORKIN: For better or worse, that’s the politics of the way the system is set up. 


JOE KERNEN: Congressman, when you’re paying your credit card bill, and you’re like “oh my god” to whatever family member may be responsible — and I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone — but is it really so horrible to say to someone, you know, let's talk about what we do in this next cycle, this next year?


BOYLE: As I said, Joe, we will be talking about, and have to agree on a bipartisan basis by virtue of a Democratic Senate and a Republican House, we do have to agree and reach a compromise on next year’s budget—


KERNEN: But don’t even broach the subject now?


BOYLE: No, that is not at all what I said. What I’m talking about, there is no question — even for that family — when that credit card bill comes, there should never be a conversation about whether or not we pay it.


It’s not as if the problem goes away if you refuse to pay your bill. You have to pay your bill, then talk about what you want to do in terms of future behavior. But I refuse to be lectured to by a group of people who every time they're in power, actually increase the debt by more than when Democrats are in power.


SORKIN: Congressman, we’ve got to leave the conversation there. We do want to thank you and I'm sure we'll be talking to you as this plays out. Appreciate it. 


BOYLE: All right, thank you.