Roby Comments on Ongoing Debt Limit Debate

December 9, 2011
Press Release

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) made the following comments today regarding the ongoing debt ceiling debate in Washington:  

            “Most Americans believe that any increase in the debt limit should be accompanied by significant reductions in federal spending. I share that view. Today, we are more than $14 trillion in debt, thirty percent of which has accrued since President Obama took office. Now the President is asking Congress to raise the debt limit to $16.7 trillion. Something has to give. Kicking the can further down the road guarantees only that our children must pay for our excesses.

            “That said, we must recognize that a default would have series ramifications—not for foreign debt holders, but for working families across Alabama. In the event of a default, the Constitution requires that we pay the holders of our debt first. The President would then choose which bills to pay with what money remains. Also, a default will result in higher interest rates, increasing the cost of borrowing money, owning a home, and doing business—each of which will weaken our fragile economic recovery. 

            “The House of Representatives has now approved two solutions to this crisis. First, we passed the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance Act,’ which would cut $111 billion in spending next year, establish a cap on spending to save $5.8 trillion over the next decade, and send a Constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states. This is a strong bill, and I was proud to support it. Had ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ been enacted, I think that we, as a nation, could have emerged from this crisis with our head held high, confident in the knowledge that we had taken steps to make America stronger and more prosperous for future generations. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats killed it.

            “In its wake, the House approved a version of Speaker Boehner’s plan, which was far from perfect but still guaranteed at least a dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of debt increase. Again, Senate Democrats killed it. In its place, they offered Sen. Reid’s plan, which contains an inexcusable budget gimmick. Sen. Reid would count spending reductions in Afghanistan and Iraq as new savings even though we already plan not to spend that money. No member can look a constituent in the eye while claiming that a vote for the Reid plan was a vote for real spending cuts. Accordingly, I voted against it and the House voted it down.

            “From the White House, we have nothing. It has been ten weeks since the first vote on the debt limit issue, but President Obama still has not produced a written plan for dealing with this crisis. This is unsurprising from a President that disregarded his own debt commission’s recommendations, proposed a budget that increases the debt by $10 trillion, and sought a debt ceiling increase with no restrictions in future spending.

            “I remain hopeful that a debt limit solution can be achieved before the August 2 deadline. I also remain hopeful that the Senate leadership and the White House will join us and do their part to ensure fiscal responsibility now and in years to come for my children and yours.”