WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today voted in favor of a proposal that would have raised the nation’s debt ceiling by a responsible amount to ensure the United States could continue to pay its bills. The legislation failed as the House GOP and many other members of Congress continued playing politics with the full faith and credit of the United States government.
“Today we saw a monumental display of irresponsible, childish behavior in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s deeply hypocritical for any member who has ever voted for a tax cut or spending increase to vote against our nation’s ability to pay those bills. Today’s disingenuous effort risks the impression that we will not raise the debt ceiling in time to prevent severe consequences in financial markets around the world,” said Himes. “Everyone understands the necessity for hard choices on the budget. Reaching an agreement on the budget is critical, but it’s deeply irresponsible to hold the full faith and credit of the United States government hostage to political posturing. The risks are too high for these political games to continue.”
With the U.S. having reached its statutory debt limit on May 16, it is widely understood that an increase in the debt ceiling is inevitable. Unless Congress raises the debt limit, the government will ultimately be forced to stop paying its bondholders, and the nation’s credit will collapse, with dire global consequences. Additionally, no money would be available pay soldiers, provide Social Security payments, continue food inspections, or keep FBI agents on the beat chasing criminals.
The experts agree.
“The idea that the United States would take the risk — people would start to believe we won't pay our bills — is a ridiculous proposition, irresponsible, completely unacceptable basic risk for us to take.” –Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
“The United States would be forced into a position of defaulting on its debt. And the implications of that for our financial system, for our fiscal policy, for our economy would be catastrophic.” –Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
“Every single company with treasuries, every insurance fund, every -- every requirement that–it will start snowballing. Automatic, you don't pay your debt, there will be default by ratings agencies. All short-term financing will disappear. I would have hundreds of work streams working around the world protecting our company for that kind of event.” –JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
“The global investors are going to ask themselves how long can policymakers pay me and not a Social Security recipient. So if I were a global investor, I would be bailing well before that, and interest rates would spike.” –Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi
“I think it would be devastating to the world economy, not just to the U.S. economy and not just to UTC if Congress failed to raise the debt limit. The full faith and credit of the U.S. government is the basis upon which the entire world financial system revolves around. If we think that the problems back in 2008, with the Lehman crisis, were devastating, a default by the U.S. government would have repercussions beyond anything we saw in 2008 and 2009.” –United Technologies Corp. CFO Greg Hayes