Senate Democratic leaders sent a letter to President Obama today encouraging him to bypass Congress on raising the debt ceiling if he so chooses.
“As you know, Republican leaders are threatening to bring on an economic catastrophe unless Democrats make deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” write Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
“It is hard to imagine that the Speaker and Leader McConnell would really follow through on their threat to let our nation default on its debts. They are responsible leaders who know better. Sadly, some of their Republican colleagues do not,” they continued.
“Therefore, we believe that you must make clear that you will never allow our nation’s economy and reputation to be held hostage. In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt limit extension only as part of unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without Congressional approval, if necessary.”
The senators also asked Obama to “continue to ignore claims that agreeing to an increase in the debt limit would somehow represent a concession by Republicans to Democrats.”
“We support your view that an extension of the debt limit is not something for which Democrats should have to negotiate.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lashed out at the letter as the “height of irresponsibility.”
“The Democrat leadership hiding under their desks and hoping the President will find a way around the law on the nation’s maxed-out credit card is not only the height of irresponsibility, but also a guarantee that our national debt crisis will only get worse,” McConnell said in a statement.
“With the President asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling, Democrats in Washington are falling all over themselves in an effort to do anything they can to get around the law—and to avoid taking any responsibility for Washington’s out-of-control spending,” he added.
“Rather than offering any plan to break the spending habit that’s causing the problem, Democrats are looking at everything from the ridiculous (printing a trillion-dollar coin) to outright abdication of Congressional responsibility. But avoiding this problem will only make it worse, which is why many of us view the upcoming debt limit debate as a perfect opportunity to face up to Washington’s spending.”