A Republican House majority will 'eagerly sow economic chaos' if Democrats don't 'grow a spine' and do as much as they can during the lame duck session, Elizabeth Warren says

A Republican House majority will 'eagerly sow economic chaos' if Democrats don't 'grow a spine' and do as much as they can during the lame duck session, Elizabeth Warren says
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on Democrats to do as much as they can during the lame duck session.
  • She said Republicans will "eagerly sow economic chaos" with a House majority.

With the red wave that never was, Democrats are gearing up for a lame duck session with more power than they anticipated.

While Democrats managed to maintain control of the Senate, Republicans gained a slim majority over the House — and it means that Democrats need to take advantage of the remaining time they have in the majority to pass as much of their agenda as they can, according to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Warren stressed the importance of delivering on top priorities, like eliminating the debt ceiling, pushing for universal child care, and expanding affordable housing during a Wednesday speech at EconCon — a conference co-hosted by progressive groups like Demos Action and Economic Security Project Action — and she anticipated the GOP will "eagerly sow economic chaos... all in service to moving Donald Trump a few inches closer to the White House."

"Capitulating to extremists is not only wrong, it's a losing strategy. If ever there was a time for Democrats to grow a spine, this is it," Warren said. "Democrats now have two jobs. The first is to do everything we can in the lame duck session to prepare for the chaos that is coming if the Republican wrecking crew takes control of the House."

Warren focused on the debt ceiling, which limits the amount of money the Treasury Department can borrow to pay for government programs and operations. In recent years, raising the debt ceiling has become a point of contention in Congress.


"We should eliminate the debt ceiling now," she added. "The debt ceiling does not limit spending; it simply creates leverage for Republicans who are willing to destroy America's standing in the world and damage our economy in order to promote their own political power. The American people understand that. In 2021, Democrats raised the debt ceiling without a single Republican vote — and there wasn't a single Democrat who lost reelection because of it."

Currently, the debt ceiling's "X Date" — when the government runs out of money to fulfill its obligations — is projected to come in the third quarter of 2023. The ceiling was almost breached in late 2021, threatening to send the country into economic turmoil and a recession that would have cost millions of jobs. Democrats ended up striking a last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion.

But, in the run up to the midterm elections, GOP leaders signaled that they might use debt ceiling negotiations to impose cuts on Social Security and Medicare.

It's unclear if a lame duck push to raise the debt ceiling is even viable. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed optimism, telling reporters that he would like to "get a debt ceiling done in this work period." But Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, told Bloomberg that it "would not be done this year by reconciliation."

"It takes too much time," Durbin told Bloomberg's Erik Wasson. "We have three weeks and there is too much else on the agenda."


The second job Democrats have, according to Warren, is to "tell our own economic story. It's time to go on offense." She said that Republicans are the party that brought the 2008 recession, are working to cut Social Security and Medicare, and "wants to leave millions of people shackled with student loan debt forever," referring to the GOP lawsuits that have blocked President Joe Biden's $20,000 in student-loan forgiveness.

"There shouldn't be a single voter in the country who trusts Republicans on the economy," Warren said. "And, if we get out there and make our case, there won't be a single voter who trusts the Republicans on the economy."