U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber joined fellow state Republicans in voting against a short-term extension to raise the national debt ceiling Tuesday, telling the Democrats they'll have to go it alone on spending.

“It is unacceptable that Democrats want to spend more money at this critical juncture instead of discussing pro-growth policies that will change the direction of our nearly $29 trillion in national debt,” Stauber, R-Hermantown, said in a news release late Tuesday.

The Senate adopted a short-term measure last week to raise the debt ceiling through early December. The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to approve the resolution along party lines, 219-206. Passage of the vote enables the U.S. Treasury to continue borrowing money to pay the national debt, and a failure to do so could have had immediate negative impacts on things like Social Security payments and the economy.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party shot back at Stauber, and his fellow state Republican Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Tom Emmer and Michelle Fischbach, for voting against the measure, saying the Trump administration was responsible for adding $8 trillion to the U.S. national debt.

“Minnesota’s Republican congressional delegation did not object to Trump’s spending, but now that a Democrat is in the White House, they are taking a page out of Trump’s playbook and refusing to pay their bills,” DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said in a news release.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin
Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin

Stauber, representing the 8th Congressional District, claimed Democrats would use the debt ceiling to pass their $5.5 trillion infrastructure and reconciliation package.

That much-debated package of legislation would be used to expand Medicare, lower child care costs, extend last year’s child tax credit, and provide two years of free community college as part of $80 billion in workforce development, $327 billion on housing priorities and $550 billion on infrastructure investments.

“Democrats control the White House, Senate and House — so if they want to spend trillions of dollars that we can’t afford — then they can do so alone,” Stauber said.

Stauber cited inflation, something he’s done often of late, in explaining his no vote. The pace of inflation over the past year rose to a 30-year high of 5.4% in September.

He neglects to cite pandemic-caused supply chain bottlenecks around the globe, particularly on the American West Coast, which are being blamed for higher prices on consumer commodities and goods. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ordered California ports to work around the clock to help alleviate the supply chain crisis.

“When inflation soars to even greater heights and American families suffer as a result of their expensive policies, the blame will fall squarely upon their shoulders,” Stauber said of Democrats.

Martin put the blame on Republicans for getting in the way of progress.

“While Democrats are working to pass bills to create jobs, lower prescription drug prices, and cut child poverty, Republicans are trying to drive the U.S. economy off a cliff,” Martin said. “It is extremely disappointing that the only thing Republican politicians have to offer at this pivotal moment in American history are dangerous political stunts and, of course, pandemic-prolonging misinformation.”

This story was updated at 10:23 a.m. Oct. 13 to include a line on why it was necessary to raise the debt ceiling. It was originally posted at 9:09 a.m. Oct. 13.