Republican presidential candidates blamed Donald Trump and Democrats for the deficit spending that’s driving the threat of a government shutdown, striking a rare moment of agreement in the second debate of the 2024 campaign.
(Bloomberg) — Republican presidential candidates blamed Donald Trump and Democrats for the deficit spending that’s driving the threat of a government shutdown, striking a rare moment of agreement in the second debate of the 2024 campaign.
“The people in Washington are shutting down the American Dream with their reckless behavior. They borrowed. They printed. They spent. And now you’re paying more for everything,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is polling in second place but 42 points behind Trump.
“Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt that set the stage for the inflation that we have,” DeSantis said at the event in Simi Valley, California.
Trump is boycotting debates and instead addressed striking auto workers in Michigan an hour before the debate.
The question of who’s to blame for the budget impasse — and the larger question of the $33 trillion national debt — provided an unusual moment of agreement by the Republican rivals, who were as quick to blame their own party for the problem as they were Democrats.
“Voters should blame everybody who’s in Washington,” said former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “They have failed, and they are in the spot they’re in because not one of them are willing to tell the truth. None of them are willing to take on the difficult issues. They just want to keep kicking the can down the road.”
Christie blamed Trump and President Joe Biden equally for what he called a lack of leadership on spending, saying, “Biden is hiding in his basement and Trump is hiding behind the walls of his golf clubs.”
Nikki Haley said Congress was responsible for an institutional failure to adhere to deadlines to pass spending bills, like the one that’s coming when the fiscal year ends overnight Saturday.
“I’ll make it clear we have to change the budget process,” she said. “In 40 years, Congress has only delivered a budget on time four times in 40 years. If they don’t keep the government open, they should not get paid. No pay, no budget. That’s the way we should handle it.”
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