Utah Sen. Mitt Romney urged the Senate to put “posturing and politicizing” aside to address the country’s fiscal problems.

While speaking during a Budget Committee hearing Thursday on the House’s proposal to combine a debt ceiling increase with spending cuts, the Republican senator expressed frustration that lawmakers weren’t working to find a solution.

The committee hearing was titled “The Default on America Act: Blackmail, Brinkmanship, and Billionaire Backroom Deals” — a substitute name offered by the Senate Democrats for HR2811, the “Limit, Save, Grow Act” proposed by House Republicans.

“This committee ought to be embarrassed. ... The American people expect us to work on a bipartisan basis to address the challenges that America faces, rather than holding hearings that are about preening and posturing and politicizing and trying to blame the other party,” Romney said.

“This is a committee responsible for setting a budget every year. We’re supposed to have already done it. We’ve never even met to discuss doing that. We don’t even have a budget.”

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee has also pressed President Joe Biden on debt ceiling negotiations. Lee said it was “disingenuous” for Biden to suggest he would only look at spending cuts after Republicans helped pass a debt limit increase, as the Deseret News reported.

Republicans, such as Romney and Lee, are advocating for increasing the debt ceiling in conjunction with cutting back federal spending, but Biden wants to pass an increase separately.

Earlier this week, Lee said he drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, reaffirming fiscal reform as the starting point for negotiations. As of midday Friday, the letter had been signed by 32 GOP senators.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress on Monday that waiting to “suspend or increase the debt limit” would have serious consequences for Americans and the economy. She said the country would default on its debt if a debt limit increase wasn’t passed by June 1.

The GOP-backed bill addressing the debt ceiling passed the House last week, coupling a $1.5 trillion increase in the debt limit with $4.8 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade.

The bill faces a narrowly divided Senate. With Democrats in control, it is unlikely that the bill as written will end up on Biden’s desk, especially since the president has said he will veto it.

Democrats and the White House are advocating for Congress to increase the limit without any cuts or negotiations.

Republican debt ceiling bill passes House, with support of 4 Utah congressmen

During the hearing, Romney said even though slowing spending has bipartisan appeal, lawmakers aren’t willing to have those conversations.

“We’re coming here saying the obvious, which is, of course, we can’t default on our debt,” he said. “We also know that every time the debt ceiling has been raised in the past, there have been questions about whether we should restrain spending and about half the time that we’ve raised the debt ceiling in the past, there have been provisions and agreements to curb spending.

“We’ve got to find a way to reduce our spending and deal with our fiscal problems. But instead, we’re just preening and posturing,” he added.

‘He’s playing chicken’: Mike Lee criticizes Biden over debt ceiling negotiations

Romney took a jab at lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for “politicking” instead of working together on the Senate floor and behind closed doors, “to negotiate, to talk about how we’re going to rein in spending.”

Romney then asked witness Mark Zandi, a chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a financial consulting company, whether the rising national debt, which increases by around a trillion each year, could become a problem for the country’s economy.

In response, the economist agreed with Romney’s views and said the need for economic stability is urgent.

“It’s very clear that we’re on this unsustainable path fiscally and it’s in our face. It’s not 10 years from now. It’s not a generation from now. It’s now,” Zandi responded.

The debt limit shouldn’t be increased without putting restraints on spending, entitlement programs and tax revenue, Zandi said, adding, “Both have to be done.”

But he also said he worried that finding a solution to the country’s spending problems would be “impossible” during the debt ceiling debate, and that Congress needed to pass an increase quickly.

Mitt Romney presses White House for China policy while administration extends olive branch

Meanwhile, another witness, Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, raised concerns about the country’s fast-rising debt.

“We’re on pace by the (Congressional Budget Office) to borrow $114 trillion over the next 30 years under the rosy scenario of peace, prosperity, low interest rates, no new spending, no new tax cuts — $114 trillion. Who’s going to lend us $114 trillion?” he said.

“If Congress doesn’t deal with this, the bond market will cut us off at some point and then it’s going to be much more painful,” Riedl added.

Biden will meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday to discuss fiscal policy.

Suzanne Bates contributed to this article.