Lawmakers sound alarm as US national debt clock ticks: ‘Catastrophic'

Republicans and Democrats sound off over debt ceiling stalemate impacting ‘so many different markets’

As the U.S. national debt clock ticks, lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday spoke to Fox News Digital about the potential "catastrophic" effects of a default on "so many different markets."  

"A default on America would constitute a catastrophe for every facet of the American economy, including the housing market," Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., said in response to being asked whether defaulting on the debt would be catastrophic for the housing market. 

"Here in Congress, we're concerned about foreign adversaries like China," the Democratic representative continued. "I would submit to you that if we default on the debt limit, we're going to do infinitely more damage to ourselves than a foreign adversary ever could."

Thursday afternoon, House Democrats signed a discharge petition in the hopes of forcing a vote on a debt ceiling increase. Discharge petitions can force a vote on legislation even if the majority party objects, but a majority of House lawmakers need to sign it.


Republicans have rejected the idea of a clean debt ceiling increase without preconditions. They passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would lift the borrowing limit by $1.5 trillion while also rolling back key Biden administration initiatives and cutting the federal government’s discretionary levels back to what they were in 2022.

Lawmakers speak to press on debt

Fox News reports that U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., hopes to have a debt ceiling deal by the end of next week.  (Getty Images)

Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene warned a debt default will deliver a hit to Americans’ savings accounts and retirement plans.

"But the real tragedy is that this government, the administration, has put the American people in this position to begin with. The American people shouldn't be forced to be in this much debt and on the verge of default," Greene noted. "That means that Congress, the administration and the government as a whole has been extremely irresponsible with their hard-earned tax dollars."

The U.S. Treasury, whose partial job is to keep mortgage rates affordable for families, may also experience "some issues" in debt default aftermath, according to Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.

"This town does not know how to actually manage things financially. They just like to borrow money and keep spending it, but I am concerned," Donalds also told Fox News Digital. "And so what it's going to require is the president and Senate Democrats to actually do their job, and come up with a strategy for raising our debt ceiling."

Democratic Rep. Wiley Nickel, N.C., added that "defaulting on our debt would be catastrophic for so many different markets."

"It's really important that we work together in a bipartisan way to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default," Wiley said. "Anything we pass in this Congress is going to be done in a bipartisan way. So the sooner we can get together to work across the aisle to get this done, the better it is for our country. And let me just say, defaulting would be absolutely catastrophic for stocks, for our economy."

"I think a default is going to be catastrophic in ways we don't fully understand yet because we've never done it, so yet one of many reasons that the president should have started negotiating three months ago," Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., also said Thursday. "I guess it's progress that he finally named his negotiators. We're running out of time. It's irresponsible. It's dangerous."

Another Republican lawmaker signaled that the Biden administration’s excessive spending is what could prove to be disastrous for the housing market.


"We all know that inflation comes from government spending. So when you spend trillions and trillions of dollars that you don't have, it jacks up all the prices of everything," Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., said.

"The Fed is having to raise interest rates and that is killing the housing market," Burlison continued. "We have to get the spending under control. We have to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and put this fiscal house in order."

The debt ceiling deadline is June 1. Despite lawmakers’ concerns, the U.S. has never defaulted on its debt. 


Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien, Agustin Hays and Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.