Our country stands at the brink of a truly momentous decision. The federal government has reached its debt limit and no longer has authority to continue borrowing without action by the U.S. Congress. |From Rep. Tom Latham
Our country stands at the brink of a truly momentous decision. The federal government has reached its debt limit and no longer has authority to continue borrowing without action by the U.S. Congress. This debate is an opportunity for the American people to make a stand and return our country to the path of common sense – fiscal discipline ñ and basically forcing Washington to live within its means. On the other hand, if we choose to continue the same status quo policies that sent federal spending skyrocketing to historic heights, we’ll be jeopardizing the ideal of the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. Increasing the country’s debt limit would be among the most irresponsible decisions Congress could make in our situation, and, for many Americans, it is an action that is a perfect example of what is wrong with Washington.
The federal government’s debt ceiling currently stands at around $14.3 trillion. We’ve already reached that limit, and many in Washington have called on Congress simply to increase the limit by trillions of dollars ñ no strings attached – so that Washington can continue the spending binges of the last few years. In fact, just this week, a vote was held in the U.S. House of Representatives to give the government permission to expand the national debt by an additional $2.4 trillion to as much as $16.7 trillion. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) cleared the measure for an up or down vote following the request to House Democratic leadership by 114 of their members in an April 15th letter to “establish a Democratic position in favor of a clean extension of the debt ceiling” when a vote was taken in the House. President Obama also called for a “clean” vote on the debt limit rather that tying it to spending or deficit reduction measures.
This vote was like calling your credit card company for an increase in your borrowing limit because you have maxed out your cards. Iowans understand that it is just plain fiscal common sense that if you’ve maxed out your credit card, the most irresponsible thing you can do is continue borrowing money. But a vote to raise the debt ceiling does just that. It gives the government permission to continue borrowing. Not many credit card companies would extend the trust of credit to a serial over-spender ñ neither should the American people with a Washington that continues to blow through every debt limit ever set.
I stood on principle and opposed the increase to the debt limit, and I am happy to report that the bill was defeated. My vote against an increase in the debt limit is a clear message to Iowa families, farmers and small business owners that I will not allow Washington to continue to spend money we don’t have. And, that it is far past time that Washington gets to work on real solutions that will put our country on the path to fiscal responsibility. The taxing, spending and borrowing of the last few years have left job creators with countless unanswered questions, prolonging the economic downturn.
Raising the debt limit would have sent a signal to the American people and to the world that Washington is continuing to kick the can down the road and putting off the tough decisions that need to be made. As most common-sense Americans know, there is not much road left in that scenario, and the consequences of failing to act with real comprehensive solutions to these problems are unimaginable.