Freshman U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson said that ending the standoff in Washington, D.C., over the debt ceiling is ultimately in the hands of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Jackson, who succeeded longtime U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in Illinois’ 1st Congressional District, said the debt ceiling debate has already gone on too long and threatens the standing of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
“It’s going on too long and too far. This car is running on fumes,” said Jackson in an interview with WTTW News. “It’s really up to McCarthy. When we talk about the debt ceiling and debt limit, these are the bills the United States government generated in 2022. They are due today, so there’s nothing to negotiate on paying passed bills. Now if they want to have a discussion about what should be happening in the future, what should be the priorities on spending, that’s a separate budget.”
According to Jackson, McCarthy has not clarified what he wants in order to agree to a deal.
“He’s not made that clear,” Jackson said. “He simply said 20% cuts across the board.”
Jackson, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said some members of Congress fail to understand the importance of the debt ceiling and the harm a default could cause.
“Quite a few members of Congress don’t know what it is,” said Jackson. “They are voting along party lines.”
White House economic advisers warned on Wednesday that a prolonged debt default could do “severe damage” to the U.S. economy, triggering millions of job losses and a major collapse in the stock market.
“You don’t play with the debt ceiling,” said Jackson.
On the issue of immigration, Jackson said it was important to understand that migrants were desperate and should be treated with compassion.
Tensions have been rising as Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott continues to bus migrants from the southern border to Chicago and other Democratic cities.
More than 2,800 recent migrants, who are in the country legally after requesting asylum and being granted parole, are being housed in Chicago’s shelters, according to officials. All of the city’s shelter beds are occupied.
“The people are in desperation,” said Jackson. “When someone decides to leave with their baby in their arms, with the shirt on their back, going into a climate that is cold, that doesn’t speak the language. That’s desperation. People do not necessarily want to come here, they’re being driven away from their home country.”
Jackson said the best way to help reduce the flow of migrants at the border is to promote stability in their home countries.
“We have to have an initiative to help bring stability to the region and help grant them safety and security,” said Jackson. “America is big enough and compassionate enough to bring people in, but it also has to be under a fair policy.”
Jackson will be holding a community town hall this coming Monday at I.B.E.W. Local 134, 2722 S. King Drive. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.