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WATCH: Top GOP Rep Rails Against Clean Debt Ceiling


GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma sharply criticized the idea of passing a clean debt ceiling Tuesday, arguing that Republicans should make an effort to keep spending in check.

The Trump administration has been adamant in its request for a clean debt ceiling increase, putting them at odds with a large number of congressional Republicans. With the September deadline to increase the federal spending limit rapidly approaching, raising the federal spending limit is slated to be one of lawmakers’ top priorities when they return from their August recess.

Cole — one of the most powerful moderate voices in the lower chamber — suggested that spending cuts be attached to the legislation to help prevent a sharp increase to the deficit.

“Well, I certainly would listen to any argument the president made, but no, I much prefer to do something,” Cole told MSNBC Tuesday. “And we’ve done that in the past, by the way, where we actually do something to lower the debt and deficit long-term — it doesn’t have to be dollar for dollar, but you have to show some progress here.”


Cole said increasing the limit without attempting to offset spending is unsustainable, adding that it’s time for the party to show it won’t embrace policies long-supported by Democrats.

“This idea we can go on spending interminably just simply raise the debt ceiling every time,” Cole said. “Sooner or later the credit markets are going to make that impossible to do. So let’s reassure them and show that we’re serious about lowering the deficits, and eventually the long-term debt.”

Cole’s comments echo those of top conservatives — including members of the House Freedom Caucus — who have argued that, with a Republican in the White House, this is their opportunity to take a more fiscally conservative approach.

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