Six House Democrats will today introduce legislation to get rid of the debt ceiling forever.
Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are behind the effort to give the federal government unlimited borrowing power.
At an 11 a.m. press conference today, they paint the 1939 debt ceiling law as “unnecessary and increasingly an impediment to Congress’s ability to further economic recovery.”
“Only a year-and-a-half after the last disastrous debt ceiling debate, House Republican leaders plan to use the same political brinksmanship again this year in order to impose their extreme and economically regressive agenda on the American people,” the sextet said in announcing the move. “A repeal of the debt ceiling would allow Congress to move forward with legislation that actually promotes jobs, economic recovery and growth.”
They blame the 2011 congressional standoff over raising the debt ceiling for Standard & Poor’s first downgrade of the U.S. in history.
“The President is right: raising the
#DebtCeiling allows us to #PayTheBills, not incur new ones,” Nadler tweeted. “But GOP still refuses to pay 4 the spending they’ve already authorized. That’s why I’m intro’ing bill to repeal the #DebtCeiling tmrw.”
Nadler also led an unsuccessful effort in 2011 to abolish the debt ceiling.
Welch has started a petition on his website urging Obama to “use the 14th amendment if Republican and Tea Party leaders insist on holding America’s reputation hostage to their budget shenanigans.”
“Republican leaders in Congress have boldly declared that they are willing to plunge America into default in order to get their way on the budget. The last time they took the debt ceiling hostage, it cost taxpayers $18.9 billion, triggered the first ever credit downgrade in American history, and sent destructive economic ripples around the world,” the petition states.
Yesterday, at a University of Michigan speech, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke joined the chorus of those backing President Obama’s wish to take the power of the debt ceiling away from Congress — a caveat in the first fiscal cliff proposal delivered by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the beginning of those negotiations.
“I think it would be a good thing if we didn’t have it,” Bernanke said.