House Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling: Punts on Reforms

Feb 11, 2014 by AFP

By Thomas Fletcher

This afternoon the House of Representatives voted to raise the debt ceiling with no reforms or spending cuts to offset the trillion dollar increase in the nation’s borrowing authority.  This represents just the latest disappointment from the House, who in the span of two months has passed the bloated Murray-Ryan budget deal, a trillion dollar omnibus package, and most recently a trillion dollar farm bill. Taxpayers deserve to know why the Congress is voting for a clean increase and then leaving town for two weeks.

While failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in a number of serious economic problems, raising it without attaching reforms to it is a missed opportunity. Congress should pair these debt ceiling hikes with provisions that address our current borrowing and spending problem. That’s why AFP has historically called for dollar for dollar spending cuts in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling.

More troubling in this latest go-around is that House Republicans, who had previously pledged to control spending, didn’t bother attaching anything. There remain a plethora of legislative items with broad bi-partisan support that address in some degree our country’s current fiscal and jobs problems.

A majority of Americans are opposed to suspending the debt limit without offsetting spending cuts, and rightfully so. The country is currently $17 trillion in debt and continues to run bloated deficits year after year funding runaway entitlement spending. Instead of taking steps in addressing the problem, both the executive and legislative branches of government seem to be completely unwilling to fix it. Until Congress, the administration, or both come together and start taking steps in solving the problem, the United States will continue on its current unsustainable fiscal trajectory, leaving future generation with unthinkable consequences.