On Thursday, Washington Post fact-checker Salvador Rizzo quashed the claim by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that the previous debt ceiling hike Republicans backed in 2019 "paid for everything in the Trump administration, plus seven months of this Biden administration."
"An analysis last month from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that the federal debt grew by $5.4 trillion from August 2019 (the last time the limit was suspended under Trump) to Jan. 20, 2021 (when Trump left office)," wrote Rizzo. "It grew by another $675 billion during Biden's nearly seven months in office as of August, according to the CRS analysis, which was requested by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)."
However, wrote Rizzo, McCarthy's claim is wrong because the debt ceiling is actually just an authorization to pay bills already accrued, and the spending was a result of programs that were already approved prior to the Biden administration taking office.
"The claim is highly misleading," wrote Rizzo. "Regularly paying the monthly bill on your car or house doesn't mean you've paid the entire sticker price. The same goes for government policies such as Trump's 2017 tax cuts, which the government continues to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars a year to finance."
The debt ceiling is set to be breached in the coming weeks without legislative action, which could cause a default as soon as next month — with potentially disastrous economic consequences. Republicans have vowed to blockade such a vote, requiring Democrats to find a way to overcome a filibuster and get the votes themselves.