NAACP President Derrick Johnson Warns Against New Debt Ceiling Bill

NAACP President Derrick Johnson Warns Against New Debt Ceiling Bill

On June 1, the Senate approved a bill raising the debt ceiling and preventing the country from defaulting on payments. However, the NAACP has condemned this bill, citing its disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans, according to The Hill

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson released an official statement on June 2, encouraging lawmakers to consider ending the debt ceiling entirely. “This debt ceiling bill will ensure the country avoids defaulting on our financial obligations but it reflects misplaced priorities,” says Johnson.

He continues, alleging that conservative legislators are centering corporations and wealthy individuals while neglecting Americans who seek public assistance. 

Johnson’s statements are no surprise. Tensions surrounding the debt ceiling have been mounting for months. On May 16, he warned of the adverse effects of the bill in a letter addressed to the White House, saying, “These proposals play on racist stereotypes masquerading as sound policy.” 

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a compromise on a bill last weekend. This legislation will halt funding to the IRS from the Inflation Reduction Act and will increase work requirements for Americans to receive assistance including food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

This is a stark change from President Biden’s previous stance where he insinuated that he did not intend to increase poverty for the working class or decrease funding for food stamps. 

Johnson is now urging Congress and President Biden to reconsider their position as Biden is expected to sign the bill into law soon. 

“Let me be clear – rather than accelerating the Mountain Valley Pipeline, implementing ineffective work requirements for SNAP and TANF, and restarting student loan payments — lawmakers should be working to deepen investments into programs that uplift all Americans, especially Black Americans,” he says. 

“The debt ceiling should never be used to pass legislation that would fail to stand on its own merit. As the bill heads to President Biden’s desk, the NAACP demands that Congress and the Administration end the use of the debt ceiling as an exercise in legislative hostage-taking. The wellbeing of Black Americans and vulnerable people should never be negotiated.”

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