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Debt Ceiling Debate: Why many people are getting irritated

Yahoo Finance anchor Julie Hyman explained why she finds the debt ceiling debate so irritating while speaking with PunchBowl News Senior Congressional Reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Video transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Andrew, I've been thinking a lot about this debt ceiling thing because we've been thinking a lot about it or talking a lot about it here. And obviously, we've had this discussion so many times before. And the closer it gets, the more irritated I get. And I imagine like that's true of people in Washington. I imagine that's true of the, you know, public market participants. I imagine that's true of Americans.

Like, it's just so dumb. The whole thing. I mean, and I'm just curious like, do people inside Washington see it that way? Because the spending cuts that they're quibbling over are really marginal here for the overall size of the debt, if they're really serious about the debt. And, like, why not divorce this from holding our debt rating hostage? It just, I'm just curious, like, inside the Beltway if the view is the same as it is outside.

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ANDREW DESIDERIO: Well it's certainly the same for those of us who have spent ungodly number of hours staking out Speaker McCarthy's office, as these negotiators have come in and out and trying to get any morsel of information as we can. But I think the root of this is that Republicans control the House. They see the debt ceiling as a huge leverage point for them in a divided government. And frankly, it is. You know, the debt ceiling is something that has to be raised no matter what.

And if Republicans come to the table with a series of demands, it's up to the White House and congressional Democrats to sort of work with them and see if they can get a compromise, which is why they spent months saying, look, there should be no hostage-taking, no brinksmanship surrounding the debt ceiling. We should just pass a clean debt ceiling bill and get this over with and not sort of scare the financial markets, scare the global markets, scare our creditors, things like that.

But, of course, you know, politics rules all here in Washington. And Republicans see this as a very important leverage point for them. And it's frankly, one of, if not the chief reason that Speaker McCarthy won the speakership in the first place.

JULIE HYMAN: But it's leverage for getting nothing. Like, is what they're going to win in this so important. Like, it just seems like this-- the stakes are very high, and the ROI, to talk in Wall Street terms, is pretty darn low.

ANDREW DESIDERIO: Yeah, look, I mean, especially if that's especially the case if the spending cuts are quite modest, right, and you're going to have these hard liners who put McCarthy in the speakership in the first place and not end up voting for whatever bipartisan product comes of it anyway, right?

The thinking is you're not going to get the far left. You're not going to get the far right to vote for this. So you're going to get the reasonable center of both parties to get this over the finish line. Get 218 votes in the House, 60 votes in the Senate. So to your point, it's like, you know, the people who are holding this up in the first place aren't going to be voting for the final product in the end anyway, right? So that's a lot of time how these things work in Washington.