Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, was asked on Fox News about his party’s history of raising the debt ceiling under Donald Trump with no budget cut requirements.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress are engaged in a heated back and forth over the United States’ debt limit, putting the country at risk of defaulting on its debt and imperiling the world economy as soon as June 1. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has stated that his House majority will not vote in favor of a debt ceiling raise without Democrats and President Joe Biden agreeing to spending cuts.
Biden, meanwhile, has refused to consider the debt ceiling as a factor in budget negotiations and accused Republicans of attempting to cut vital government services by holding the debt ceiling hostage. Republicans have in response accused Biden of risking a default over what they have called his unwillingness to entertain spending cuts.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, host Shannon Bream asked Cruz about a common criticism of the GOP amid the current debt ceiling fight: that the party voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling three times under Trump without any spending cut requirements.
“Fair to say that Republicans have added to what we have now in the [national] debt?” Bream asked. “You voted multiple times to raise the debt ceiling under President Trump so what is this different?”
“It’s different because the magnitude of where the debt is massive,” Cruz said. “You are right, during Donald Trump’s presidency, during COVID, Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan way passed emergency COVID relief that was very expensive…What happened subsequently is you had Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi do a complete takeover of the federal government and they went on a spending binge. And all of that, that was predominantly hard partisan spending, trillions and trillions of dollars of hard Democrat objectives.”
Cruz went on to cite the hiring of 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees as part of the Inflation Reduction Act as an example of unneeded Democratic spending. Bream countered that the new hires were intended to help the agency increase revenue brought in, leading to a record level of tax income for the fiscal year 2022.
A report from Snopes has confirmed that Congress raised the debt limit three times under Trump, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Only the 2019 bill called for $77 billion in administrative “offsets” to help account for the rise in spending that year. Congressional records also show that Cruz voted in favor of raising the limit in two of those years, 2017 and 2018. He voted against it 2019, which would have been the first year of a Democrat-controlled House after the 2018 midterm elections.
Newsweek reached out to the White House press office via email for comment.