A significant majority of Americans believe that the U.S. debt ceiling should only be raised if it’s paired with spending cuts, a CNN poll released on Tuesday found.
Sixty percent of the poll’s 1,227 respondents answered that “Congress should only raise the debt ceiling if it cuts spending at the same time.” Twenty-four percent of the respondents answered that the debt ceiling should be raised “no matter what,” while 15% answered that “Congress should not raise the debt ceiling and allow the U.S. to default on its debts.”
The poll, which was conducted from May 17 to May 20, also asked about consequences should the debt ceiling not be raised. Twenty-six percent of the respondents believe not raising the debt ceiling would cause a “crisis,” 45% of respondents said it would cause “major problems,” while 26% said it would cause “minor problems,” and 3% said it would cause “no problems at all.”
EJ Antoni, a research fellow in regional economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation, weighed in on the poll. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
“Most Americans understand what the average politician in D.C. does not: Government spending is out of control,” Antoni told The Daily Signal in a statement. “From inflation to the banking crisis, the detritus of excessive spending is everywhere, and these problems will persist until the spending is reduced.”
“If politicians do not listen to the voters on this, they risk being removed from office at the next election,” Antoni said.
The poll was released amid ongoing negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden about raising the debt ceiling. On Jan. 19, the U.S. hit its debt limit of $31.4 trillion, The Daily Signal previously reported.
The poll also asked, “Based on what you have read or heard about the discussions between Congress and Joe Biden on the debt ceiling, do you think that Biden has or has not acted responsibly?” Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said that the president has not acted responsibly, whereas 40% answered that he has.
The poll posed the same question about congressional Republicans. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they “have acted responsibly” while 64% said they hadn’t. One percent of the respondents answered “no opinion.”
The poll was released one day after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen renewed warnings about the debt ceiling.
“I am writing to follow up on my previous letters regarding the debt limit and to provide additional information regarding the Treasury Department’s ability to continue to finance the operations of the federal government,” Yellen wrote in letters to McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“In my May 15 letter, I noted that our best estimate was that Treasury would be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time,” Yellen wrote. “In that letter, I also noted that while it is impossible to predict with certainty the exact date when Treasury will be unable to pay all the government’s bills, I would continue to update Congress as more information becomes available.”
Yellen added, “With an additional week of information now available, I am writing to note that we estimate that it is highly likely that Treasury will no longer be able to satisfy all of the government’s obligations if Congress has not acted to raise or suspend the debt limit by early June, and potentially as early as June 1.”
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