In the recent Dow Jones article “House Democratic Group Leaders Indicate Willingness to Deal on Debt Ceiling,” Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) reiterates his call for a clean vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. He explains that if other provisions are tied to the same vote, those provisions should only include measures that improve the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.
Himes has taken a firm stance on the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in order to ensure the United States is able to meet its financial obligations. When Speaker John Boehner suggested he may not even hold a vote on the matter, Himes called out his political posturing. In interviews and television appearances, Himes has been quick to point out that efforts to block an increase in the debt ceiling are both dishonest and irresponsible. In this article, he continues that discussion.
From the article:
Leaders of two key groups in the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday they would be open to supporting an increase in the country's statutory borrowing limit that includes controls on future federal spending, as long as those limits affect Republican sacred cows like tax policy and defense spending.
In what could be a significant development as the debate on how to raise the federal government's debt ceiling begins in earnest next week, Reps. Jim Himes ( D., Ct.) and Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) both signaled that they—and their allies—could vote in favor of the debt ceiling increase.
"If somebody puts a bill in front of me and says A, B, and C are going to happen, I'm going to have to look at A, B, and C," Himes said in an interview, referring to potential spending-control measures that could be attached to a debt ceiling bill. "I'm not saying I would vote against an encumbered bill because at the end of the day we have to raise the debt ceiling."
Himes is a vice chairman of the New Democratic Coalition—a centrist group of 42 Democratic lawmakers—that has voted with Republicans on spending issues already this year.
The lawmakers said they would strongly prefer a debt ceiling increase that was "clean" and didn't have any other conditions attached. Both, along with 112 other House Democrats, signed on to a letter written by Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) that calls for a stand-alone vote on the debt ceiling. That letter was sent to House Democratic leadership this week.
The article also highlighted another important theme in the current discussion over the debt ceiling: the negative global economic impact of a default by the United States government.
If Congress fails to increase the debt ceiling, it could have severe economic repercussions on the U.S. and global economy. It could lead to the U.S. losing its prized top shelf credit rating, which would result in significantly higher borrowing costs. A raft of economists have warned about the dire consequences that could occur if the debt ceiling isn't increased, while the White House has referred to the "Armageddon-like" impact on the economic recovery it could have.