House Debt Ceiling Bill Suspends Congress Salaries And Borrowing Limit
COMMENTARY | A House debt ceiling bill will suspending Federal borrowing limits for three months in addition to stopping the salaries of Congress. Republicans were expected to use the pending national debt ceiling as a tool to force Democrats to cut spending in the budget. This unexpected move leaves many Republicans feeling surprised and perhaps wanting to say #LetsGetToWork to Congress on Twitter.
The House debt ceiling measure passed 285 to 144, lifting the Federal government’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit until May 19. According to Bloomberg, the House debt ceiling bill now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said lawmakers will pass the bill unchanged and send it to President Barack Obama.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, President Obama requested that the Federal government spend $3.67 trillion in 2013 when the Federal income in taxes for 2012 was around $2.5 trillion. Raising taxes to cover the spending would require hundreds of billions in new taxes. The alternative is to greatly cut spending. If the two parties cannot agree on a compromise then the Federal government defaults on loans and the United States credit rating is hit. That’s one potential financial cliff. If both parties cannot get together and lower the Federal deficit to reasonable levels soon, then the shear amount of debt itself would become a Super Cliff.
The current Federal deficit puts the national debt at over $20 trillion in four years. The Congressional Budget Office projects social security to cost one trillion in 2018. Our interest payments on the national debt at five percent will quickly be reaching unsustainable levels and would roughly equal the entire cost of social security. This final Super Cliff would leave a dysfunctional government unable to provide many of its basic functions that US citizens have come to rely upon.
Despite these real dangers, Congress and the President are kicking the can down the road further. According to CNN, the House debt ceiling bill is nicknamed the “No Budget, No Pay” act since, as The Inquisitr previously reported, Congress’ salaries will be suspended as part of a 27th amendment stipulation until they get their act together. It’s possible that the Senate may seek to strip this stipulation out but so far Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that the Senate will act soon:
“To spare the middle class another knock-down, drag-out fight, the Senate will proceed to and seek to pass the House bill.”
Republicans plan on using two deadlines to handle the fiscal crisis in stages. The first is the March 1 start of automatic spending cuts and the second is the need to pass a bill by the end of March in order to fund the government. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) explained during a floor debate why Republicans thought it necessary to create a House debt ceiling bill without first getting promises of spending cuts:
“The premise here is pretty simple; it says that there should be no long-term increase in the debt limit until there’s a long-term plan to deal with the fiscal crisis that faces our country. This is the first step in an effort to bring real fiscal responsibility to Washington.”
Conservatives and pundits alike on Twitter may not agree with this assessment:
I cannot believe the Republicans are extending the debt ceiling—I am a Republican & I am embarrassed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2013
#TDSBreakingNews House finally passes 3-month debt-ceiling bill! Related:”Agreeing to procrastinate” now a major accomplishment.
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 23, 2013
#WTFCongress You’ve had since late 2011 to debate the debt ceiling issue-what’s with the emergency deadline push-back?Do some work4a change!
— AG Fredericks Author (@AGFredericks) January 23, 2013
What do you think about the House debt ceiling bill?