News from Barbara Boxer, United States Senator from
I wanted to make sure you saw my recent op-ed in the
Huffington Post about ending the threat of a catastrophic default and
ensuring that Congress always pays its bills � just like America�s
businesses and families.
Enough Is Enough: Congress Must Pay Its
By Sen. Barbara Boxer � Featured in the Huffington Post
How much more pain and uncertainty do Americans have to
endure before Congress decides that it should pay the bills it has racked
up? Businesses and families must always pay their bills and so must
The first time lawmakers flirted with a disastrous default
on our nation�s bills back in 2011, the stock market plunged 2,000
points, consumer confidence hit a 31-year low, Standard and Poor�s
downgraded our credit rating for the first time in history, and it cost
taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years.
The recent government shutdown
and near-default may prove to be even more costly � taking $24 billion
out of our economy, slashing 0.6 percent off of fourth-quarter GDP
growth, and leading Fitch Ratings to put our country on �negative watch�
because of what it called �repeated brinksmanship.�
It�s time to end
these self-inflicted wounds once and for all � and Americans should
After the first debt ceiling debacle in 2011, I
introduced a bill called the USA AAA Credit Restoration Act. It was based on
an idea by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that would allow
Congress to have its say on our debt limit without jeopardizing the
full faith and credit of the United States.
The bill is very simple:
Each year, on the same day that the President�s budget is submitted to
Congress, the Treasury Secretary would be required to publish in the
Federal Register an estimate of how much the debt limit would need to
be raised for the following year.
Lawmakers in both the House and
Senate would have a chance to debate the proposed increase and vote on
it. But the bill would also provide certainty to taxpayers and
financial markets by ensuring that the Administration�s request would become
law unless a veto-proof majority rejected it. The National Journal
recently praised the approach as a �foolproof way to avoid a future
used this �disapproval� process to get us out of the last two default
crises. In 2011, 74 Senators and 269 House members supported it as part
of the Budget Control Act, and just last week 81 Senators and 285 House
members backed it as part of the bill that ended the government
shutdown and the threat of default.
If this bipartisan approach was good
enough to provide stability for our economy and our country in the
short-term, why not embrace it for the long-term?
We must end the
dangerous practice of using the full faith and credit of the United
States as a bargaining chip. As Warren Buffett put it, �It ought to be
banned as a weapon. It should be like nuclear bombs, basically too
horrible to use.�
The creditworthiness of our country is just too
important. President Reagan once said, �The United States has a special
responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we
have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility � two
things that set us apart from much of the world.�
That�s why the debt
ceiling was raised 18 times under Reagan, five times under President
George H.W. Bush, six times under President Bill Clinton, and seven
times under President George W. Bush. We paid our bills without putting
our economy and our credit rating at risk.
By now, it should be
clear to everyone in Washington that the American people are tired of
these political games that are hurting our families. We are just getting
out of the worst recession since the Great Depression and we cannot
afford any more manufactured crises.
We should all agree that
Congress must fulfill its two most basic responsibilities � keeping the
government open and paying our bills. We can start to regain the public�s
confidence and restore our reputation around the world by passing the
USA AAA Credit Restoration Act.