FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL: Most Americans oppose raising the federal debt ceiling without accompanying cuts to federal spending, a new RMG Research poll finds.

Sixty-one percent of 1,000 registered voters in the survey said Congress should either raise the debt ceiling with spending cuts (45%) or refuse to raise the ceiling at all (16%). Only about a quarter (24%) said Congress should raise the ceiling without accompanying spending cuts. The remaining 15% said they were “not sure.”

RMG Research asked voters, “The debt ceiling places a limit on how much money the federal government can borrow to pay its bills. If the debt ceiling is not raised in the near future, the government will be unable to pay all of its legal obligations after the middle of this year. How should Congress address this problem?”

The poll offered respondents four options: “Raise the debt ceiling, but only with spending cuts”; “Raise the debt ceiling with no spending cuts”; “Refuse to raise the debt ceiling”; and “Not sure.”

High-propensity voters tended to favor raising the debt ceiling with spending cuts. Nearly half (49%) chose that option, while 16% said Congress should refuse to raise the ceiling, and 24% said Congress should raise it without spending cuts. Only 10% said they weren’t sure.

RMG Research presented the same question to voters a second time, with this added background:

Treasury Department officials and other economic experts say that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would force the government to default on its payments and severely damage the economy. Knowing this, how should Congress address this problem?

Even with that context, most voters (62%) said Congress should either raise the debt ceiling with spending cuts (48%) or should refuse to raise the debt ceiling at all (14%). Only a quarter of voters (26%) said Congress should raise the debt ceiling with no spending cuts. The rest (13%) said they were unsure.

RMG Research surveyed 1,000 registered voters online, weighting the sample by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party, on Jan. 17-18, 2023. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.1%.

“Every dollar of federal spending and debt is a dollar taken from hardworking American families,” Richard Stern, acting director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in a Friday statement. “This poll shows that the American people view the debt limit as an indispensable tool to protect against reckless expansions of the power and size of the government.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“Any debt-limit increase must be paired with commensurate cuts and reforms to the federal spending that has driven inflation, fed the woke left-wing establishment, and increased regulations and other burdens that have deprived Americans of access to their rights and threatens to derail our economy,” Stern added.

“The upcoming debt-ceiling negotiations are an opportunity for conservatives to fight for the much-needed fiscal reforms and spending cuts that will combat the consequences of the Left’s spending addiction,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. (Heritage Action is The Heritage Foundation’s grassroots partner organization.)

“Suffering with record-high inflation and limited purchasing power, American families are tired of President Biden and Democrats in Congress using their hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund outrageous partisan priorities and send our economy further into chaos,” Anderson added. “Conservatives must position themselves ready to fight for the interests and priorities of the American people, and they must seize on the momentum to right the fiscal ship.”

The U.S. national debt stood at $31.5 trillion as of Sunday morning.

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