Yellen says Democrats, if needed, must tackle debt limit alone -Washington Post

FILE PHOTO: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2021. Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats should address the nation’s debt limit on their own if Republicans refuse to act in a bipartisan manner to avoid a national default, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Washington Post in an interview published on Monday.

Lawmakers in October temporarily raised the federal government’s borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion in legislation U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law, allowing the U.S. Treasury to continue to pay debts through early December.

Yellen has repeatedly urged Congress to act in a bipartisan manner to extend the U.S. government’s borrowing authority or else risk dangerous economic consequences.

“Should it be done on a bipartisan basis? Absolutely. Now, if they’re not going to cooperate, I don’t want to play chicken and end up not raising the debt ceiling. I think that’s the worst possible outcome,” Yellen told The Washington Post on Sunday as she traveled to Dublin.

“If Democrats have to do it by themselves, that’s better than defaulting on the debt to teach the Republicans a lesson,” she added.

Yellen, in a separate interview with Reuters, said the United States could look at eventually lowering some tariffs on China in a reciprocal way. She also discusses Biden’s expected Federal Reserve chair appointment and technology companies’ potential support of global tax rules.

The U.S. Treasury chief is in Ireland for a tax policy meeting before traveling to Scotland for the U.N. climate change conference.

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