Dokoupil began the hostile interview Thursday by citing the “anxiety” over the debt ceiling and claimed it was “increased with bipartisan votes,” asking him why Republican lawmakers are “playing this game of brinkmanship now” based on “past spending.”
“Well, a couple of corrections, really,” Toomey responded. “It’s very frequently that it has been passed on a party-line vote and not always bipartisan, but more importantly and fundamentally, it’s not about past spending. It’s about future spending.”
After Toomey cited the $3.5 trillion spending bill, he added, “Our Democrats want an unprecedented spending blowout, they’re going to have to raise the debt to facilitate it.”
The CBS host and the senator then debated on whether or not the debt ceiling has to be raised regardless of whether the spending bills pass, causing the lawmaker to say “the truth” that Democrats “don’t want the American people to focus on,” which is “if you go on a huge spending binge, you will have to borrow more money than you otherwise would.”
“If there’s a party that has complete control of the government, they want to do this all on their own, they’ve developed the procedures, they’ve executed the procedures so they could spend all this money all by themselves if they can reach an agreement among themselves, but then they want Republicans to facilitate it all by enabling the borrowing that will be necessary to fund all that spending. They can do that themselves,” Toomey said.
Dokoupil pushed back, saying the debt increased by “trillions of dollars” under the Trump administration and how both Republicans and Democrats voted twice to increase the debt limit.
“Don’t the Democrats deserve the same courtesy that Republicans got when they had legislative priorities?” Dokoupil asked.
“First of all, it’s not a matter of a courtesy. The Democrats charged a price for that,” Toomey dismissed the question. “When they are available to vote for a debt ceiling increase, when they offer the willingness to do it, it’s always if we agree to even more spending to make the problem worse.”
The host then cited “a lot of economists” who say “it’s okay” to carry 28 trillion in debt, to which Toomey replied, “Yeah, and a lot don’t.”
“Your party could relieve us of this conversation, this anxiety, this potential catastrophe, as [Treasurey Secretary] Janet Yellen puts it, of America defaulting on its debt. Someone has got to be the adult in the room here. Why not the Republicans?” Dokoupil asked.
“So you point to my party. I’ve got to chuckle,” Toomey reacted. “Which party has the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives? I’m pretty sure it’s the Democrats. And we have told them from the beginning that if you want to go on this unprecedented spending spree, you will have to raise the debt ceiling that’s going to contribute to paying for it.”
“Chuck Schumer could have done this months ago… he could do it today… There’s nothing Republicans can do. We can’t stop them. They have the tools to raise the debt ceiling and so they will raise the debt ceiling, but they’re hoping that they’ll get some Republicans to share the blame for all of this debt and all of this spending that’s causing it and that’s just not going to happen,” Toomey added.
Before wrapping up the interview, Dokoupil wanted to “clarify” that according to U.S. Treasury, “the debt limit has nothing to do with future spending, rather it’s past spending.”
“And that’s the Democrat treasury works for this administration,” Toomey told Dokoupil.
“So you’re saying they changed the website, it’s a new policy, it’s a new approach?” Dokoupil asked.
“I’m saying that’s a partisan, political point of view that’s designed to provide cover for the Democrat spending,” Toomey responded.