The Republican-made Debt Ceiling Crisis is a Blatant Power Grab
Let’s set a few things straight: the debt limit or ceiling is not the nation’s credit card, and governmental budgeting and accounting are not directly comparable to personal finances. Created in 1917 in the midst of World War, I, Congress created the debt limit to allow the executive branch flexibility during a fast-moving and complex wartime situation. Congress has raised the debt limit more than 100 times since then.
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the debt limit “allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.”
The first sentence of Section 4 in the Fourteenth Amendment clearly states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
Conflating the debt limit with budgetary practices and priorities is faulty and sloppy thinking, but politically effective messaging on the part of Republican politicians who seek to gain by coercion what they have been unable to pass legislatively. Specifically, extending the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy would add $3.5 trillion to the deficit through 2033.
PDA believes that raising the debt limit cleanly without budgetary coercion, thereby avoiding the first ever national default and subsequent global economic chaos that would follow, is absolutely necessary and is not negotiable. Tying budgetary conditions to raising the debt limit is both disingenuous and extortionary..
Although a clean debt ceiling bill supported by all members of Congress who want to protect the full faith and credit of the United States is the preferred approach, if Republicans choose to continue to hold the country and the economy hostage, then they give President Biden no choice but to move forward with Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4 authority.
These recurring manufactured debt limit crises weaken both the international standing of the U.S. and the rule of law in our governing system.
Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and demand a clean debt limit bill. Then join PDA’s growing ranks of monthly sustainers, to ensure that we can continue and expand our efforts to improve social safety nets, demand responsible energy production and usage, fight for racial and cultural equity, build a national single-payer healthcare system, and promote peace and adherence to established international law.
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
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