Watson Coleman Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling, Calls for Elimination of Archaic Debt Ceiling Process

Watson-Coleman, on the ground.

U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) released the following statement regarding her vote for the Fiscal Responsibility Act:

“Over the last several days my office has received input from the constituents of the 12th District, worried about our country defaulting while also voicing their concerns about the recent process of this debt ceiling.

“Voting to raise the debt ceiling should be a bipartisan measure to pay the debts already accrued by the federal government. Since 1960, Congress has raised or temporarily extended the debt limit 78 times – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

“In recent years Republicans have insisted on a dine-and-dash policy. It’s a policy in which they run up debts on the things they want, like tax cuts and giveaways for the ultra-rich, and then refuse to pay the bill, demanding we cut essential services designed to help people, even their own constituents, whom they don’t seem to care for. This year, in return for not forcing a default, Republicans demanded cuts to federal programs that support millions of Americans with the ultimate aim of taking food out of the mouths of those struggling to make ends meet. If they didn’t get the cuts they want, they warned, they’d crash the global economy – harming all but the most wealthy Americans.”

Per CNN:

“The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass a bill to suspend the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025, as lawmakers race to prevent a catastrophic default.

“The bill will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. In the Senate, any one lawmaker can delay a swift vote and it is not yet clear when a final vote will take place.”

Watson Coleman:

“I worry about the precedent this sets. The inclusion in this process of demands such as cutting aid to the poor or speeding up fossil fuel permitting should never have occurred. These are topics to be discussed and debated in Congress. Speaker McCarthy and his allies only forced them into this discussion because they could not get enough support to pass them through Congress. The Republican wish list is wildly unpopular with everyday Americans, and so, they used the archaic debt ceiling process to hold the nation hostage until they got their way.

“Despite all this, President Biden and his negotiators fought off the worst, most egregious demands of the Republicans. The across-the-board 22% cuts to discretionary spending were thrown out. Threats to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, veterans’ health care, and historic infrastructure and climate investments were all thwarted. Instead, President Biden was able to extend federal assistance to the homeless, veterans, and young people aging out of foster care. The Department of Defense’s already bloated budget increase is lower than it likely would have been otherwise. I voted in favor of this legislation as the responsible course of action to avoid the economic devastation that would follow should we allow the country to default.

“After this process is complete, our country must have a conversation about eliminating the debt ceiling. It is a process that does not exist in other countries. It was put in place during the height of World War I to assist President Woodrow Wilson in making funding decisions necessary to fund the war that had been declared by Congress. I call on all my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to consider joining me in supporting Representative Bill Foster’s End the Threat of Default Act to repeal the debt ceiling.

“It is preposterous to continue to be beholden by a 106-year-old war funding mechanism conceived of at a time in which Members of Congress could not easily be recalled to Washington in the event of an emergency. We should eliminate the debt ceiling process and reach a state in which no one needs to worry if the United States will pay its bills.”

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