Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., was spotted sporting a homemade national debt clock badge in the halls of Congress on Tuesday evening amid an ongoing partisan battle over raising the debt ceiling.
Massie was seen by reporters wearing the makeshift badge as Washington faces a renewed fight over lifting the debt ceiling, including proposals to allow the government to borrow without any limit set by Congress.
Politico reported that Massie built the badge himself out of a combination of roofing copper and a microprocessor over the course of about three days. He told the outlet that he pulled the data from “about 400 lines of code” on the Treasury Department’s website.
The government hit the debt ceiling — currently set at $31.38 trillion — last week. House Republicans have called for commitments to cut back on the expansion of federal spending, which has grown under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
However, Democrats have accused Republicans of “weaponizing” the debt ceiling as part of budget negotiations, risking U.S. economic health in the process by bringing it close to default.
“The government has an obligation to pay its bills,” Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., said this week. “Threatening to default on our debt is the same as ordering an expensive meal at a restaurant, eating it and skipping out without paying. We can and should have a real conversation about overall spending, but the full faith and credit of the United States must never be compromised.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have called on the White House to help negotiate a deal that reduces spending and said it was “disappointing” that so far President Joe Biden has not intervened. They also argued that congressional approval of new spending programs is what has repeatedly forced the government to keep hitting its borrowing limit, which has then forced Congress to keep raising the debt ceiling.
“It’s very disappointing,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters this week. “Here’s the leader of the free world pounding on a table, being irresponsible, saying, ‘No, no, no, just raise the limit.’”
Biden met with Democratic leaders on Tuesday and took aim at Republicans over the fight.
“Look, I have no intention of letting the Republicans wreck our economy,” Biden said.
The federal government spent $4.4 trillion in fiscal year 2019, just before COVID hit. It spent $6.5 trillion in fiscal year 2020, $6.8 trillion in fiscal year 2021 and $6.3 trillion in fiscal year 2022.
Fox News’ Peter Kasperowicz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.