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Representative Kevin Brady on debt ceiling: 'I hate the way it's being done'

·3-min read

Representative Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) says Americans despise the reoccurring partisan fight over raising the debt ceiling. "And you know, I hate the way it's being done," Brady told Yahoo Finance Live.

Brady is the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee and voted against a measure that clears the way to raise the debt ceiling. "Congress will, will raise the debt ceiling on time. So I don't think there's any fear of an economic impact from that. I think most Americans will hate how Congress acts in this case," he said.

According to Brady, the House took a pending bipartisan bill on health care and added a poison pill amendment it sent to the Senate to raise the debt ceiling. "I think most Americans would like to see us working together and sort of adding a poison pill on the debt limit process, yeah, I think that's what people hate about Congress," Brady said.

The Senate passed the measure Thursday. The final bill will prevent cuts to Medicare next year and is expected to pass both chambers of Congress before the Dec. 15 deadline.

"I do believe that going forward, both parties really need an adult conversation on how to address the debt ceiling as it comes due, in how we come together on a better approach on this not eliminating necessarily, but it ought to be an opportunity for us to talk about how we get our financial house in order together as both parties and not make it a potential economic collapse," he said.

'Being held hostage'

Brady blasted the process during the House debate on the measure. “Patients and doctors are being held hostage to pave the way for trillions of more reckless spending that most Americans don’t even want,” he said.

The congressman said there is bipartisan support to strengthen health care but that it should be done as a standalone bill. Brady and fellow Republicans have voted repeatedly to repeal and defund The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, which provides health insurance coverage to more than 11 million Americans.

"I will continue to fight this flawed law until it is fully repealed," Brady promised.

But time is running out for Brady, who plans to retire from Congress at the end of 2022. He intends to move forward with health care proposals before leaving. "I'm proposing a health care backpack that travels with you throughout your lifetime from job-to-job, state-to-state maybe home to start a business or a family, and even into retirement," he said, describing his plan as one that gives patients greater choice and transparency on health care prices.

The latest data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows U.S. health care spending grew 4.6% in 2019, reaching $3.8 trillion or $11,582 per person. Health care spending accounted for 17.7% of GDP and is projected to grow to $6.2 trillion, or 19.7%, of GDP by 2028.

"I think there are some pretty exciting ideas on how we can bend that curve, while improving quality. And I think that's always the case. We can have affordable care, or we can have quality care, we really need to have both," Brady said.

But linking the current debt ceiling debate to health care reform is an inappropriate use of leverage, he added. "This debt ceiling is being lifted to pay for trillions of wasteful socialist spending." The answer, according to Brady, "is don't keep doing what we're doing."

Adam Shapiro is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live. Follow him on Twitter @Ajshaps

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