'It's absolutely a bad-faith argument': Rep. Ocasio-Cortez slams Republicans for invoking the $25 trillion federal debt as a reason to restrain government spending

Stephen Maturen/Getty ImagesRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tore into Republicans on Wednesday, saying they’re using the federal debt to restrain the government from helping average people.
  • “They were not concerned about the deficit when they wanted half a trillion dollars that would be leveraged into $US4 trillion for Wall Street and their donor buddies,” she said in an NBC News interview.
  • Scores of GOP lawmakers are arguing the mounting federal debt provides a reason to scale back emergency federal spending.
  • But critics say Republicans passed hefty tax cuts for corporations that swelled the debt by $US2 trillion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Republicans on Wednesday, saying they’re citing the federal debt as an excuse to restrain the government from aiding average Americans instead of large corporations.

In an interview with NBC News, the New York congresswoman called on Democrats to pass further economic relief measures and said Republicans were relying on arguments in “bad faith.”

“It’s absolutely a bad-faith argument,” she told the outlet. “They were not concerned about the deficit when they wanted half a trillion dollars that would be leveraged into $US4 trillion for Wall Street and their donor buddies. And honestly, you know what? If they are that concerned about the deficit, I’m happy to meet them halfway and roll back the $US2 trillion tax cut that they passed just two years ago.”

She added: “Aside from that, they don’t get to just start whining about the deficit the moment we actually get on the cusp of helping working people.”

In recent weeks, Republicans have urged a halt to further government spending, citing the ballooning federal debt. The federal deficit is projected to increase to $US3.7 trillion for 2020, a record, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

In April, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the brakes on another coronavirus relief package, citing the $US25 trillion federal debt as a “matter of genuine concern.”

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But critics like Ocasio-Cortez say the GOP had no qualms in passing the largest corporate tax cut in three decades in December 2017. That swelled the federal debt by nearly $US2 trillion.

Experts say the US should take advantage of low interest rates, which reduce the cost of borrowing money. Jason Furman, a former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, previously told Business Insider he believed the government could accommodate up to $US5 trillion in additional spending.

Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent progressive lawmaker, has repeatedly called for the government to provide immediate aid for average Americans. She supports passing rent and mortgage forgiveness in the next aid package.

House Democrats recently introduced a $US3 trillion spending measure designed to aid states grappling with plummeting tax revenues. It would also extend unemployment benefits through January and provide aid to essential workers.

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