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The U.S. Capitol Building - Daylight
Press Statement June 2, 2023

NAACP President & CEO: ‘Debt Ceiling Bill Misses the Mark for Black America’

The U.S. Capitol Building - Daylight


June 2, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,


WASHINGTON — Last night, the Senate passed legislation that will raise the debt ceiling and avoid a cataclysmic default, yet have a disproportionately negative impact on Black America. NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson released the following statement urging lawmakers to end use of the debt ceiling in legislative negotiations:

"This debt ceiling bill will ensure the country avoids defaulting on our financial obligations but it reflects misplaced priorities. Conservative legislators have once again prioritized corporations and wealthy individuals. The deal avoids the calamity of default, but weakens environmental protection, IRS capacity needed to collect revenue, and adds burdensome requirements for Americans seeking public assistance. 

"Let me be clear – rather than accelerating the Mountain Valley Pipeline, implementing ineffective work requirements for SNAP and TANF, and restarting student loan payments — lawmakers should be working to deepen investments into programs that uplift all Americans, especially Black Americans.  The debt ceiling should never be used to pass legislation that would fail to stand on its own merit. As the bill heads to President Biden's desk, the NAACP demands that Congress and the Administration end the use of the debt ceiling as an exercise in legislative hostage-taking. The wellbeing of Black Americans and vulnerable people should never be negotiated."



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.