If Republicans want a default, Dems should give it to them

Just because a party is in the minority, that doesn’t mean it has given up its responsibility to govern

Katelyn Burns
3 min readSep 28, 2021


Photo by Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño. License.

A few weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared that his Republican caucus would not support raising the debt ceiling for US government debt. A failure to raise the ceiling would result in the US defaulting on payments on its existing debt, a likely fall in the US government’s stellar credit rating, and a global recession s a result.

The politics for Republicans are easy to understand. A US default would be an embarrassing mar on president Joe Biden’s record, along with those in the Democratic majority. It also feigns at presenting a GOP hardline stance on government debt, allowing Republicans to cosplay at being tough on spending while abdicating their responsibility to govern.

They spin this by saying their “tough stance” on the debt ceiling is to prevent “excessive” spending from allegedly free-wheeling Democrats. But the reality is that the ceiling is raised to accommodate debt that the US has already committed to in the past, including under former president Trump and the last Republican majority.

It’s a favorite pastime in politics to compare the national debt to household finances. While this is an overly simplistic way to explain national economics, in essence, when Republicans were last in the majority, they ran up the debt in record numbers, primarily through tax cuts for the wealthy that deeply cut into the government’s income and ability to pay debts.

Republicans now want to leverage these cuts in a cheap ploy to punish their Democratic enemies who now hold office. But beyond the recounting of past actions that have contributed to the debt, Republicans are ignoring that, even in the minority, they have a responsibility to govern the nation.

The GOP has been bluffing Democrats for as long as I’ve been a voter, constantly scheming and maneuvering to win daily newscycles against their political opposition, who are mainly concerned with optics.

But maybe it’s time for Democrats to call the Republican bluff and let a default happen. Sure Democrats may look bad for having this happen with themselves in the majority, but they could remind voters that those in the minority have a responsibility to govern as well. This is especially true for as long as the Senate decides to keep the filibuster around, which effectively puts the minority party in charge of whatever may pass the chamber.

American voters should see exactly what they vote for with the GOP. If Republicans want a default, and the resulting global recession, let them have it. If not, then maybe it’s time to gut minority rule and kill the filibuster.

If the minority won’t be serious about co-running an effective government, then fuck ’em, they don’t deserve any power.



Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe