Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: President appeals to Republicans to work together on debt ceiling
This was CNBC's live blog covering U.S. President Joe Biden's annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.
U.S. President Joe Biden called for unity in a sharply divided Congress as he made a spirited appeal to Republicans to raise the $34.1 trillion debt ceiling in the annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
Biden touted U.S. job growth, his infrastructure program, drug price cuts for seniors and the rise in domestic manufacturing as he sparred with Republicans over higher taxes on billionaires and immigration reform. He also touched on the war in Ukraine, oil dependency and America's strategic competition with China in the annual address to Congress.
Biden was met with boos and jeers when he pointed out that 25% of the outstanding U.S. national debt was added under former President Donald Trump's tenure.
"They're the facts, check it out. Check it out," Biden said. "How did Congress respond to that debt, they did the right thing, they lifted the debt ceiling three times without pre-conditions or crisis. They paid American bills to prevent an economic disaster."
Tuesday was the first time since 2019 the president and congressional leaders were permitted to bring guests to the event, which is generally attended by every member of the House and Senate. Five of the Supreme Court's nine justices were in attendance, along with most of the president's cabinet and the diplomatic corps.
Musician Bono, the parents of Tyre Nichols, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova and House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul were some of the evening's more notable guests.
It was also the first time that Biden delivered the historic speech before a divided Congress after Republicans clenched control of the U.S. House in November's midterm elections.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California sat behind Biden's left shoulder on the dais instead of Pelosi, D-Calif., with Vice President Kamala Harris next to McCarthy.
For Biden, there is a lot riding on his ability to connect with his audience this year. His approval ratings are holding steady at 45%, according to the most recent NBC News polling.
Despite record job growth and new data indicating that inflation is slowing, Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the state of the economy.
They blame Biden for rising interest rates and they worry about a possible recession. The NBC poll found that only 36% of U.S. adults approved of Biden's handling of the economy.
In addition to economic woes, the debt ceiling deadline later this year looms over Washington. It will require Biden to negotiate with the newly elected Republican majority in the House, who have demanded deep spending cuts before they will agree to pass a debt ceiling hike.
'We must finally hold social media companies accountable,' Biden says
Highlighting a rare area of bipartisan support, Biden called for reforms on social media companies, with a focus on data privacy, kids' safety and competition in digital markets.
"We must finally hold social media companies accountable," for the experiment they are running on kids for their own profit, Biden said.
"It's time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on our kids and teenagers online," he added, to a standing ovation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including McCarthy.
Biden called for a ban on targeted advertising to kids and "stricter limits on the personal data that companies collect on all of us."
Prominent bills in Congress regulating privacy and kids' online safety have received bipartisan support, but have yet to advance to the floor of either chamber.
He also called for Congress to pass "bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage."
That call seems to refer to two bills that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last year with broad support, which would prohibit dominant online platforms from prioritizing their own products on their marketplaces over rivals'. But after a massive lobbying push by the tech industry, the bills never reached the floor of either chamber, though Congress did pass some reform to help increase funds for antitrust enforcers.
— Lauren Feiner
Biden calls for raises for public school teachers, better access to pre-school
Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would give public school teachers a raise and allow Americans better access to pre-school.
"If you want to have the best-educated workforce, let's finish the job by providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-old," Biden said. "Let's give public school teachers a raise."
First Lady Jill Biden has been teaching for years and continued to do so after Biden became president.
— Brian Schwartz
Biden, Republicans seem to agree on preserving Social Security, Medicare benefits
Biden seemed to get Republicans to agree on not touching the Social Security and Medicare funds when they look to cut spending.
Republicans shouted back at the president when he said some House GOP members had proposed to reduce funding to the programs.
"Okay folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now," Biden shouted back.
"If anyone tries to cut Social Security, which apparently no one's going to do, I'll stop it. I'll veto it," Biden said. "Apparently it's not going to be a problem."
— Emma Kinery
Republicans holler and heckle Biden
Republican members of Congress blatantly ignored GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's request that they refrain from shouting things at Biden during his State of the Union address.
Instead of getting flustered, Biden responded to some of them, ignored most and laughed at others.
"China spied on us!" yelled Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, when the president brought up strategic competition with Beijing.
"It's your fault!" shouted another Republican, from the back row, when Biden mentioned the crisis of fentanyl crossing the Southern border.
Several members yelled "You lie!" at Biden, repeating an infamous line that was first uttered at President Barack Obama in 2017, by former GOP Rep. Joe Wilson, S.C.
McCarthy was visibly annoyed by the antics, however, and at times he could be seen "shushing" his own caucus, who were seated at least 25 feet away and appeared not to notice McCarthy.
— Christina Wilkie
Biden hails end of Covid emergency
The Covid-19 pandemic was largely a footnote in Biden's address, demonstrating the progress the U.S. has made against the virus and how the priorities of the administration and the public have changed.
"While the virus has not gone, thanks to the resilience of the American people and the ingenuity of medicine we've broken the Covid grip on us," the president said.
Biden cheered the planned end of the three-year-long public health emergency in May as a victory, but he didn't provide details on how he plans to transition the nation out of its crisis response.
Millions of people are at risk of losing Medicaid, and the uninsured stand to shoulder the cost of vaccines and treatments when the current federal stockpile runs out. The administration says it has plans to help, but details are scant.
Biden acknowledged that the virus continues to evolve into new variants that pose a potential threat to public health, again calling on Congress again to fund the next generation of vaccines and treatments.
— Spencer Kimball
Biden draws GOP laughter by saying U.S. might need oil 'for at least another decade'
Biden unintentionally drew a few seconds of riotous laughter from Republicans in the middle of his speech by predicting that the United States would remain dependent on petroleum "for at least another decade."
To say Biden's prediction was optimistic might be an understatement.
The United States currently consumes approximately a fifth of all the petroleum used around the world every day. And Biden's own U.S. government data projects that American petroleum consumption will increase nearly every year for the next three decades.
Biden's line about a decade of oil dependency was part of a broader critique of big oil companies, and a pitch for his administration's electric vehicle tax credits.
"Let's face reality. The climate crisis doesn't care if you're in a red state or blue state. It's an existential threat," he said. "We have an obligation, not to ourselves, but to our children and grandchildren, to confront this and I'm proud of how the how America at last is stepping up to the challenge."
— Christina Wilkie
Biden appeals to Congress to lift the debt ceiling as House Republicans, White House spar
Biden made an impassioned appeal directly to House Republicans to lift the debt ceiling without conditions.
"No president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor. Nearly 25% of the entire national debt that took over 200 years to accumulate was added by one administration alone," Biden said.
"How did Congress respond to that debt? They did the right thing they lifted the debt ceiling three times without conditions," Biden said. "Tonight I'm asking Congress to follow suit."
House Republicans have refused to raise the debt ceiling without agreements to cut spending. The White House has said that discussion should be separate from agreeing to cover existing obligations.
— Emma Kinery
Biden snubs Rep. George Santos without a handshake
President Joe Biden didn't shake hands with Rep. George Santos even though the embattled New York Republican had snagged a prime position on the aisle of the House floor to be close to the president when he walked by.
Biden looked at Santos, though, NBC News reported.
Santos got an even colder shoulder from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who appeared to have a terse exchange with Santos as they crossed paths.
Romney had a stern look on his face as he said something to Santos the freshman lawmaker, who for weeks has been under fire for lying about multiple aspects of his personal and professional life.
A member of Congress in close proximity to the exchange told NBC News that Romney said to Santos that he does not belong in Congress.
"It looks like Romney is saying to Santos 'you ought to be embarrassed,'" journalist Aaron Rupar wrote on Twitter.
Santos, looking unhappy, in turn replied to Romney as he passed, and then said more words to the senator's back.
"What an assh----," Santos said, according to an ABC News reporter's tweet about the exchange.
— Dan Mangan
Federally funded infrastructure projects must use American-made materials
Biden issued new stipulations requiring all construction materials for federal infrastructure projects to be made in the United States.
"Tonight I'm announcing new standards to require all construction materials using federal money for federal infrastructure projects to be made in America," Biden said.
"Lumber, glass, drywall, fiberoptic cable," Biden said, must all be made in the U.S.
Infrastructure has been a key achievement of Biden's administration so far. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Biden signed in November 2021, allocated more than $1 trillion towards updating the country's infrastructure from transportation to broadband to utilities.
— Emma Kinery
'Inflation has fallen every month' Biden says, adding the U.S. is in the best position to tackle it
Biden acknowledged that Americans are still feeling the sting of inflation but said the numbers are trending in the right direction.
"We're better positioned than any country on earth right now," Biden said. "We have more to do, but here at home inflation is coming down. Here at home gas prices are down $1.50 from their peak. Food inflation is coming down, not fast enough but coming down."
Inflation remains at a four-decade high, but last month the overall consumer price index, a key indicator of inflation, dropped for the first time in more than two years. Overall CPI fell 0.1% in December from the prior month, marking the largest month-over-month decrease since April 2020. Overall CPI rose 6.5% from a year ago, the smallest increase since October 2021.
"Inflation has fallen every month for the last six month while take-home pay has gone up," Biden said.
— Emma Kinery
Biden leads his speech with an ode to bipartisanship
Biden started his speech with an ode to bipartisanship, the rare congressional path that he's pledged to follow now that Republicans control the House.
"We're often told that Democrats and Republicans can't work together. But over the past two years, we've proved the cynics and naysayers wrong," he said.
"Yes, we disagreed. We disagreed plenty. And yes, there are times when Democrats went alone. But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together," said Biden.
These lines followed another notable nod to bipartisanship. Biden's first phrase of the night was to congratulate the newly elected House speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy of Calif.
— Christina Wilkie
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is designated survivor
Before Marty Walsh leaves the Biden administration to head the National Hockey League's players' union, he will serve as the designated survivor during Biden's State of the Union address.
A Biden White House official confirmed Walsh, the Labor Secretary, would be the designated survivor during Biden's speech.
The designated survivor is an individual that's chosen to stay at an undisclosed location, away from the State of the Union address. That person would become acting president of the United States if there was a mass-causality event during the State of the Union that killed the president, vice president, congressional leaders and other officials in the line of succession.
— Brian Schwartz
Two retired Supreme Court justices break tradition to attend Biden's speech
Five of the nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court are present at Biden's speech.
- Chief Justice John Roberts
- Justice Elena Kagan
- Justice Brett Kavanaugh
- Justice Amy Coney Barrett
- Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonya Sotomayor don't typically attend the event, so their absences were expected. Justice Neil Gorsuch also missed the speech.
The surprise tonight is that two retired justices are also in attendance, which breaks with tradition: former Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justice Stephen Breyer.
— Christina Wilkie
Democrats to wear crayons lapel pins to highlight lack of affordable childcare
A group of House and Senate Democrats plan to wear crayons as lapel pins to the State of the Union address to show their support for increased childcare funding.
The effort is spearheaded by Sen. Patty Murray, Wash., who chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee and has spent years pushing for more federal assistance for childcare.
Murray's guest at Biden's speech is Angélica González, a mother of five who "has long struggled to find and maintain reliable, quality, affordable child care," Murray tweeted Tuesday.
Among the lawmakers who will be sporting Murray's crayon pins to the speech is Sen. Jack Reed, R.I.
— Christina Wilkie
Sanders to take on 'wokeism' and Big Tech in GOP response
Conservative culture wars against "wokeism" and "Big Tech" will be front and center in the Republican response to Biden's State of the Union address, according to advance excerpts of Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders's speech.
"In the radical left's America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country," Sanders will say.
Sanders, a rising star in the GOP, will try to flip the perception that Republicans are too "extreme," a perception that hurt GOP candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.
Democrats are the party pushing "crazy" ideas, Sanders will argue, while Republicans are the party of "normal."
"Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols," she will say. "That's not normal. It's crazy, and it's wrong."
There is no set time for the speech to start. Sanders will begin immediately after Biden is finished.
— Christina Wilkie
Republicans attack Biden on inflation, crime, border issues before his address
The Republican National Committee lashed out at Biden ahead of the state of the union address, blaming him for a slew of issues and preemptively dismissing his "excuses."
"The state of the union is weaker and American families are suffering because of Joe Biden," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement Tuesday morning.
"There is a reason Republicans took back the House, and that's because of speeches like tonight where Biden will ignore and deflect blame for inflation, rising crime, and a border crisis he created. Americans deserve solutions, but all they'll hear from Biden are excuses," McDaniel said.
— Kevin Breuninger
Speaker McCarthy warns House members not to pull any stunts during Biden's speech
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said members of his GOP caucus will not disrupt Biden's address with political stunts, which have become more common in recent years.
"We're members of Congress. We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves but also do our jobs and that's exactly what we'll do," McCarthy told CNN. "But we're not going to be playing childish games, tearing up a speech. That's just a political ploy"
McCarthy was referring to his predecessor, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who infamously tore her copy of then-President Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union address in two, moments after Trump finished speaking, as they both stood on the dais with cameras rolling.
Yet even as McCarthy chided a Democrat in public, privately, he warned his occasionally rowdy caucus to be on their best behavior tonight. "Cameras are on" and the "mics are hot" he House Republicans during a closed door meeting earlier in the day, NBC News reported.
— Christina Wilkie
Bright spots in the economy clouded by high inflation, divided Congress
Though Biden is likely to tout the accomplishments he's made on the economy, the broader picture is more complicated.
The U.S. economy is in an overall delicate state. Several key indicators such as unemployment, at a nearly 54-year low, and GDP show signs of robust growth, but inflation is still at a four-decade high and the Federal Reserve raised rates eight times over the last year in pursuit of an elusive soft landing to avert a recession.
This also comes as the president faces a divided Congress for the first time in his tenure now that Republicans have gained control of the House. Passing his agenda, or anything at all, will prove to be difficult.
Read More: Biden to deliver State of the Union address amid high inflation and divided Congress that threaten to derail economy
— Emma Kinery
Biden has limited options to support abortion access after losing the House
When Biden delivered his last State of the Union speech, abortion was protected as a constitutional right for all women in the U.S. through 50 years of Supreme Court precedent.
But the high court's conservative majority, established during the Trump administration, abolished those protections last June when it overturned Roe v. Wade, further dividing an already deeply polarized country.
Abortion is now basically banned in a dozen states, forcing women to cross state lines to access the procedure. While these bans make exceptions for when the patient's life is in danger, some do not allow abortion in cases of rape and incest.
Now, physicians who oppose abortion are asking a federal court in Texas to pull the abortion pill, the most common way to terminate an early pregnancy, from the U.S. market.
The White House has promised to protect women crossing state lines to access abortion, but as barriers to access mount activists are calling on the administration to do much more, including declaring a public health emergency.
But the White House has shied away from such an extraordinary measure over concerns that it would not withstand court challenges. The battle is now in the states and it's unclear what else the administration will do to support activists at the local level.
— Spencer Kimball
Jan. 6 survivor Sgt. Aquilino Gonell to attend address as Pelosi's guest
Former Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, the officer who defended the U.S. Capitol against insurgents on Jan. 6, 2021, and testified during the House hearings on the attempted insurrection, will attend the State of the Union as a guest of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Gonell was injured during the attack on the Capitol. He and several other officers were thrust into the national spotlight after offering testimony about the riot during the House Jan. 6 hearings. Gonell received the Presidential Citizens Medal from Biden in January.
"Sergeant Gonell's personal story is one of duty and determination: coming to America as a young child, overcoming adversity and discrimination, and defending our Democracy in the Armed Forces and in the Capitol Police force," Pelosi said in a statement. "An immigrant, a veteran and a patriot, Sergeant Gonell truly embodies the best of America."
Pelosi stepped down as House Speaker in November, weeks after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was brutally attacked by an assailant at the couple's California home. Paul Pelosi is also expected to attend the address.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the GOP response to Biden
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican response immediately following Biden's State of the Union address.
Sworn into office less than a month ago, Sanders is the youngest governor in the nation and widely considered a rising star in the GOP.
While Sanders, 40, may be young for a governor, she is a veteran in national politics.
The daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders became a household name in 2017, when she was named White House Press Secretary under then-President Donald Trump. There, she vigorously defended some of Trump's most controversial policies.
"It's hard to find a single thing that the Biden administration has done that has been positive," Sanders said in a State of the Union teaser video released Monday by the Republican Governors Association.
"I am looking forward to rising to the moment, to doing great things for our state, and joining in a coalition of strong, conservative governors across the country," said Sanders.
— Christina Wilkie
Parents of Tyre Nichols to sit in Jill Biden's box a month after his beating by police and amid calls for reform
The parents of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died after being beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tenn. last month, will attend the tonight's State of the Union address as guests of First Lady Jill Biden.
RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, Nichols' mother and stepfather, will sit in Biden's box exactly one month to the day since their son was stopped by police for alleged reckless driving. The altercation escalated with police officers brutally beating Nichols who died from his injuries three days later.
The incident is the latest example in a series of killings of Black men at the hands of police, often over minor allegations. Biden took office nearly a year after police in Minneapolis, Minn. killed another unarmed Black man, George Floyd, sparking protests across the nation and cries for change.
"President Biden has made clear that we must take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again," read a White House statement announcing the guests.
Congress was unable to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act when Democrats had majorities in both the chambers; the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate. With the House in Republican control, the chances of its passage are less likely, even as public pressure mounts for action.
Biden met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus last week to discuss moving forward with legislation. Members of the CBC urged Biden in the meeting to use his State of the Union speech to advocate for reform. Nichols' parents were already expected to attend after being invited as guests of CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev.
— Emma Kinery
DNC chair Harrison says Biden 'has delivered for the American people' on jobs
The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said Biden, despite mediocre public approval ratings, has "a lot to be proud of ... a lot to sell" going into the State of the Union.
"Accomplishment after accomplishment after accomplishment, this president has delivered for the American people," DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said during an interview on MSNBC when host Joy Reid asked about Biden's poll numbers.
Under Biden, more American jobs have been created in the past two years "than any other president has created in four years," Harrison said.
"We just need to make sure that we get out there to sell this so they understand it, that they see the whole breadth of all of this," Harrison said.
DNC senior advisor Cedric Richmond pushed the theme of the president's jobs record during an interview on CBS News.
Richmond said the State of the Union gives Biden an opportunity "to remind the American people that unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1969."
"He gets to talk about all of those accomplishments which people didn't think he could accomplish – the infrastructure bill, beating the gun lobby and enacting sensible gun reform – and then he gets to talk about what the next few years will be about," Richmond said.
— Dan Mangan
Sen. Elizabeth Warren invites child care advocate to State of the Union
Child care advocate and nursing student Eugénie Ouedraogo will attend the State of the Union as a guest of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
A native of Burkina Faso, Ouedraogo and her family immigrated to the U.S. in June 2017, when she enrolled her children in Triumph, Inc. Head Start in Taunton, Massachusetts while she attended nursing school. She met Warren, D-Mass., in 2021 during a roundtable discussion at the school, where Ouedraogo is on the Policy Council.
"I'm grateful to have Eugénie join me at the State of the Union this year," Warren said. "Eugénie and I both know firsthand what it's like to struggle with finding child care while pursuing an education, which is exactly why I've been fighting for years to ensure child care is more affordable and accessible for all."
Warren has consistently promoted universal child care. Childcare proposals were stripped from the final version of Biden's Inflation Reduction Act.
— Chelsey Cox
Biden to ask Republicans to work together
Biden will appeal to Republicans to work together as he enters the second half of his term, highlighting the country's economic growth in the first two years of his administration after the coronavirus pandemic shut down large swaths of society.
"The story of America is a story of progress and resilience," reads an excerpt from Biden's speech released by the White House ahead of his address. "We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again."
Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress in Biden's first two years in office, but he now faces a divided legislature after Republicans gained control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
"To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can't work together in this new Congress," Biden will say. "The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere."
But Republicans, as Biden will allude, did not win by the historic margins projected. Polls after the election show Americans are frustrated by the gridlock in Washington and Biden will play on that sentiment to push for compromise.
"We've been sent here to finish the job!" he will say.
— Emma Kinery
The security fence encircling the Capitol has become a political flashpoint
Biden will deliver his State of the Union address in a Capitol complex that is encircled by an 8 foot-tall black fence that was erected over the weekend.
Along the fence there are signs that read, "Area closed by order of the United States Capitol Police Board."
To Washington residents and congressional aides, the fencing is a visceral reminder of the deadly mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. In the wake of the attack, the Capitol was fenced off for a month.
Two years later, a growing number of Republicans in Congress oppose the use of perimeter fencing for high security events, including the newly minted House speaker, Kevin McCarthy.
"I don't think [the fencing] is the right look, there's not a need" for it, McCarthy told CNN Tuesday. "You've got all the intel out there that there's no problem whatsoever," he said.
Threats against members of Congress have more than doubled since 2017, according to reports produced by the U.S. Capitol Police.
— Christina Wilkie
Biden to call for 'billionaire tax' in laying out economic policy for 2nd half of term
Biden will use his address to broadly sketch out his administration's economic policy goals for the second half of his term, including a plan to reduce the deficit with a minimum tax on billionaires.
Biden "will show the country a blueprint for how to sustain the manufacturing and jobs boom his agenda is fueling, keep fighting inflation and cutting costs, protect Medicare and Social Security, and continue bringing down the deficit by having the wealthy and big corporations pay more of their fair share," spokesman Andrew Bates wrote in a memo to reporters.
The memo also lashed out at Biden's political rivals, contrasting the president's goals with those of the new House Republican majority. Bates accuses the congressional Republicans of "selling out working people" in favor of the rich, big corporations and special interests.
He also knocks the GOP for "proposing multiple extreme national abortion bans in just their first month controlling the chamber."
Biden's "blueprint" of proposals, according to Bates, will include reducing the deficit through a billionaire tax as well as a tax on corporate stock buybacks. Biden will also advocate for expanding a $35 cap on the price of insulin, which went into effect this year for seniors on Medicare.
The president's plans are presented as a way "to finish the job he started in the first two years of his term." Biden, who at 80 is the oldest president to hold the office, has not said if he will run again in 2024.
— Kevin Breuninger
Powell says Fed can't save economy if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling
Ahead of Biden's speech, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told a crowd at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. that the central bank can't save the U.S. economy if Congress fails to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.
The nation hit its statutory debt limit last month, but Republican lawmakers have held off on raising the limit in order to push for spending cuts. So far, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been able