Boxer Urges Debt Ceiling Increase, Withholding Congressional Pay Until Budget Settled
Senator Barbara Boxer has taken on the issue of the nation’s budget and is concerned that partisan games are taking the place of critical thinking in solving the country’s fiscal crisis.
According to a statement issued by the Senator, the United States reached its debt ceiling last month and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner indicated that he can delay a government default until August 2.
If the debt limit is not increased, the U.S. would default for the first time in history, with disastrous effects on our economy, millions of families and America’s standing in the world.
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Boxer told KHTS that partisan game playing was putting America in a dangerous position, referring to the vote by House Republicans Tuesday to increase the federal debt limit that failed.
“I just feel their decision to play games with the full faith and credit of America is reckless and it threatens our fragile economic recovery,” she said.
“This is the greatest nation in the world, and we can’t default on our legal obligations,” she continued. “We never have and we shouldn’t even flirt with that notion, because the consequences for our families and economy and our leadership in the world is at stake. If we default, our country will no longer be seen as a trustworthy borrower, the value of securities will be damaged, harming individuals and businesses.”
“If the debt limit is not increased, millions of Americans would be hurt, as the government is forced to halt payments for Social Security, the brave men and women in uniform, veterans’ benefits,” she continued. “The shock of this default could also trigger another market turndown.”
She theorized that the House vote was deliberately taken after the stock markets closed, although she noted that the market was not performing up to par on Wednesday.
Boxer said that Congress also needs to join in the public hardships.
“If we don’t raise that debt ceiling, members of Congress should not receive paychecks,” she said. “If we can’t do our job and protect the full faith and credit of the American people, we should not get paid.”
House members, including Congressman Buck McKeon, contend that there is a law that prohibits them from working without pay, something McKeon referred to in a March interview.
“They know that they’re shielded,” Boxer said. “But there’s no protection for Social Security, private contractors or government workers.”
Senator Boxer has written legislation with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) that would prevent lawmakers and the President from being paid if the government defaults on its debts. The bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year, but has been blocked by House Republicans. Boxer and Casey sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the issue Tuesday.