OMB director on possible US credit downgrade: ‘We don’t control the Fitch process’

Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, underscored on Sunday that the U.S. doesn’t control the country’s credit rating, which could be impacted by what was the threat of default ahead of a debt ceiling deal signed by President Biden.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Young was asked whether she’s worried America’s credit could still be downgraded.

“This is what I will say. You heard me, you heard many other administration officials, you heard the president of the United States saying, we can’t threaten default. Brinksmanship is bad. And while we don’t control the Fitch process, this is exactly why we talked about this for months, that we should not have this brinksmanship around something Congress has done 100 times in its history,” she said. “And I’m glad we finally got there. But we have warned against this brinksmanship. It’s bad for the country. It’s bad for the global economy.”

Asked again if she’s worried about a downgrade, Young stressed “we don’t control that process.”

Fitch Ratings, a prominent credit ratings agency, said Friday that “repeated political standoffs” over the debt ceiling and “last-minute suspensions” to keep the nation from defaulting “lowers confidence in governance on fiscal and debt matters.” Fitch put the US rating on its negative watch list.

“I will say that this was not down to the wire for D.C. time frame, that this is a bipartisan agreement. It sets a tone for the way we’re able to work together over the next two years. And we don’t control what Fitch does. But we have warned against this brinksmanship, and we need to work together in a way that gives the American people some confidence,” Young said on Sunday.

President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed last week on a deal to put before Congress, which the House and Senate passed just ahead of the Treasury’s June 5 default deadline. Biden signed the legislation on Saturday.

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