May 25, 2023


If Congress doesn’t increase the debt limit before funds run out, the government would be unable to pay its bills, resulting in a first-ever default, which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy. That’s why we have been fighting for months to get a debt limit deal done.

We have heard from our members that we cannot default on our debt. The effects would be dire for America:

  • The economy goes into a recession.
  • Interest rates rise and access to credit dries up, making it harder for businesses to grow.
  • The dollar weakens, leading to higher inflation and less spending power for families and businesses.
  • The dollar’s position as the reserve currency of the world is threatened, hurting our economic and national security.

The Chamber Got to Work

Since January, the Chamber has pushed the White House and Congress to solve this looming problem. And long before anyone else we laid out solutions.

Recognizing that divided government requires a bipartisan approach, we urged the White House and Congress to come to the table and do the hard work of finding consensus.

We called for negotiations and laid out areas of agreement that would lead to a compromise:

  • Repealing unspent COVID funds
  • Implementing spending caps
  • Passing permitting reform

We then got to work using the broad advocacy reach of the Chamber:

  • We met with over 150 Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans.
  • We hosted over 45 fly-ins from state and local chambers across the country.  
  • We conducted over 200 in-district presentations on the debt limit for congressional offices and local chambers.

The solutions we called for are now at the center of the negotiations.

Our Experts Inform the Discussion 

At the same time we have led the public debate about why default would be an economic catastrophe, and the need for a bipartisan deal, as well as offering timely updates:

  • Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley spoke to news outlets, including CNN, C-SPAN, and Bloomberg on the harmful consequences of default and the need for a bipartisan solution.
  • Chamber Senior Vice President and former House Parliamentarian Thomas Wickham demystified the Congressional process by explaining how a discharge can be used to move a bill in the House.
  • The Chamber sent a letter to the administration on May 19th explaining why employing the 14th Amendment would be as calamitous as a debt default.

Local, national, and international media organizations have relied on the Chamber’s expertise and deep policy experience. Our experts have been interviewed or quoted over 100 times on the debt ceiling since January.

Once a deal is struck, the Chamber will use all our advocacy muscle to get the votes needed in Congress to get the agreement to the President’s desk.

A century of experience gives the Chamber the ability to do this. We address the issues that matter for a strong economy and country; we lay out the solutions needed; and we use all our tools to turn those solutions into reality.

Bottom line: For months the Chamber has been at the forefront in helping leaders in Washington forge an agreement that will avoid a historic debt default. We, along with our network of state and local chambers, will continue advocating to the administration, Congress, and the public. As the representative of the business community, we know the stakes are too high and the consequences of failure are too great.

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