By Taylor Tinsley
12:58 PM PT – Tuesday, September 19, 2023
On Monday, the U.S national debt hit $33.04 trillion for the first time in history.
According to the Treasury Department, the federal government has spent 23% of its budget on Social Security, 15% on health, and 13% on National Defense, Medicare, and Income Security in Fiscal Year 2023.
Separated by agency the top five spenders are the Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, Department of Treasury, Department of Defense – Military Programs, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
For comparison, the federal government spent $6.27 trillion in Fiscal Year 2022 and just four decades ago the national debt sat at $907 billion.
The national debt measures the amount of money the U.S. has borrowed from its creditors.
The historic numbers come as congressional lawmakers are trying to avert a government shutdown.
The original deadline for a shutdown is set for September 30th, but the House Freedom Caucus reached an agreement for a short-term stopgap over the weekend that would extend the shutdown deadline to the end of October.
When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said “I don’t think anybody wins a shutdown. Think for one moment what a shutdown does. It stops paying our troops. How do you have more leverage in that situation?” The House Speaker went on to say, “Look, I don’t know who gets punished in this. I do know that the American public wants to have their border secure. I do know they want to end the runaway spending because it’s hard working taxpayers money that you’re taking.”
Republicans are working to bring back Trump-era initiatives to increase border spending and also reduce Ukraine aid funding. It’s unlikely they’re going to find a compromise with Democrats who are unwilling to agree on spending cuts.
During a press conference with the House Budget Committee on Tuesday, Representative Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) said Democrats’ answer is higher taxes. The Republican said the only way to “reverse the curse” is to implement cuts.
Norman said while sitting in on a recent House Rules Committee hearing, “not one time was there mention of a cut… the only thing this administration has given us is a treasure of things to cut.”
The White House was quick to blame Republicans for the rise in debt. In a statement to Fox Business, assistant press secretary Michael Kikukawa said “The increase in debt over the last 20 years was overwhelmingly driven by the trillions spent on Republican tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. Congressional Republicans want to double down on trickle-down by extending President Trump’s tax cuts and repealing President Biden’s corporate tax reforms.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans are struggling to agree on the short-term spending plan. More than a dozen Representatives have voiced their opposition to the stopgap bill, including Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Cory Mills (R-Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.).
Speaker McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP votes if all Democrats oppose.