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Government Must Do What American Families Do Every Day – Prioritize Responsible Spending

Government Must Do What American Families Do Every Day – Prioritize Responsible Spending

By Congressman Mike Simpson

Washington, D.C. – “There is a lot of concern and speculation about the possibility of exceeding the federal debt limit as early as next month, but I find it helpful to face these challenges by starting with the facts.  Looking at the facts will allow us to address the immediate crisis and then determine how to put our nation on a more sustainable long-term path to financial stability.  As we do so, we can ensure that the government meets its obligations to bondholders, taxpayers, Social Security recipients, and the veterans and service men and women who have served our country faithfully.

“The first fact is that raising the debt limit does not create new spending.  Rather, it allows the federal government to pay back loans that were taken out in the past.  When you or I take out a loan, we plan to repay it.  But when the government hits the federal debt ceiling and we don’t address the problem, we essentially decide not to pay back our outstanding loans to lenders like bondholders and Social Security recipients.  Raising the debt ceiling is about following through on our financial commitments, not adding to them.                                       

“The second fact we need to face is the grim repercussions of inaction.  Just as failing to pay back a loan would leave you and your family in a terrible financial situation, allowing the United States government to default on its loans would have dire consequences.  The government would be unable to pay its bills—including military salaries, retirement benefits, and wages earned by federal employees.  Interest rates would go up on the government’s current loans. 

“Just the suggestion that we would allow default damages consumer confidence and has, in the past, weakened the perceived stability of the U.S. political system and led a major credit rating agency to downgrade the federal debt.  Actually defaulting would cause massive damage to our recovering economy and plunge the world into a financial crisis.  Allowing our country to default on its loans in an ill-advised show of political one-upmanship would be an egregious failure of responsibility for those who have been entrusted by the American people with the task of governing. 

“The third fact to consider is this:  our work cannot end with raising the debt limit.  Approaching or reaching the debt ceiling sounds an alarm that we are not on a sustainable spending trajectory.  We need to heed this wakeup call.  The federal government has a massive spending problem that cannot be ignored.  An ever-growing bureaucracy and out-of-control spending means that the federal government constantly operates on a deficit, borrowing money or raising taxes to pay for new programs.  We cannot continue to spend without consequences and saddle our children and grandchildren with debt. 

“This is why I supported H.R. 2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Just as it is irresponsible to allow the United States to default on its debt, it is also reckless to turn a blind eye to the underlying debt crisis.  The Limit, Save, Grow Act addresses both issues by first raising the debt limit and avoiding a default and thus preventing another financial crisis and protecting the jobs and savings of everyday Americans, and then reining in out-of-control spending and growing our economy. 

“The fourth fact is this:  this bill does NOT cut the veterans’ budget.  It simply doesn’t.  Claims that it does are fear-mongering tactics used by those who don’t want to face the harsh realities of our current budget situation.  Throughout the two decades I have served in Congress, I have always worked hard to support veterans and service members.  I have supported pay increases, increased access to health care, funding to ensure veterans and their survivors receive promised disability compensation, and more, and I will continue to do so.  Fulfilling our commitments to our nation’s veterans remains one of my top priorities in the 118th Congress. 

“The bill saves approximately $50-60 billion, not by cutting critical programs, but by rescinding unspent COVID-19 emergency funding.  The Biden Administration used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to spend $1.9 trillion through the American Rescue Plan, even though we still had $1 trillion in unspent emergency funds available at the time.  The emergency has ended, and access to this slush fund needs to end, too.  Important veterans and social programs will continue to be funded the right way, through the regular appropriations process.

“Solving the federal debt crisis means that the federal government must do what American families are doing every day—figuring out their priorities, creating a responsible budget that reflects those priorities, and following through on their financial commitments.  With the Limit, Save, and Grow Act, House Republicans have set the table in negotiating raising the debt ceiling while also getting federal spending under control.  Now, President Biden and Senate Democrats must come to the table and do their part.  It will not be easy, but I remain committed to doing the hard work of reducing spending, balancing the budget, and creating jobs so that we can put our economy on a sustainable, healthy path for the future.”