Top House Democrat says GOP passed ‘ransom note,’ not a budget, as default looms

Top House Democrat says GOP passed ‘ransom note,’ not a budget, as default looms

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries says Republicans’ passage of legislation to raise the debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars in spending over the next decade was akin to a “ransom note.”

The New York Democrat stuck by President Biden’s refusal to negotiate spending cuts ahead of a meeting this week at the White House with top congressional leaders as Washington stares down an early June deadline when the U.S. will default on its debt.

“[House Republicans] didn’t produce a budget. What they did was produce a ransom note,” Mr. Jeffries said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Either Republicans want us to accept these dramatic cuts or accept a catastrophic default on our nation’s debt. That is [their] unreasonable position.”

Even with their razor-thin majority, House Republicans last month narrowly passed legislation to avoid default and return spending to 2022 levels while rolling back other federal spending approved under Mr. Biden.

The move put pressure on Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats to come to the negotiating table as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns the U.S. could default as early as June 1.

But the White House and Democrats so far have refused to budge, arguing that spending cuts should instead be debated as part of the annual budget process.

“Hopefully in a few days, Republicans will come to their senses and do what’s right by the American people,” Mr. Jeffries said.

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