Jim Moran: Reject Debt Deal, Invoke 14th Amendment (UPDATE: House Passes Debt Ceiling Bill)

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    (UPDATE: The House passed the debt ceiling increase by a 269-161 margin, with Democrats splitting 95-95. I’ll post statements by Virginia’s representatives as I find them.  So far, among Democrats, Connolly voted yes, Moran and Scott voted no. – promoted by lowkell)

    I just received this statement from Rep. Jim Moran. I think it’s fair to say that most Blue Virginia readers strongly agree with what Rep. Moran has to say on this issue!

    Moran Statement on the Debt Ceiling Deal

    Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, released the following statement in advance of the House vote on the debt ceiling proposal:

    The debt ceiling has been raised cleanly 39 times over the last 30 years, 18 times by President Reagan alone. But for the first time ever, a deal has had to be negotiated to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a default. Unfortunately, the proposal we are being asked to vote on would be bad for our country. It should be rejected, and President Obama should take matters into his own hands by invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling.

    This deal is not representative of a balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. By leaving revenue entirely off the table, the agreement severely restricts the government’s ability to make investments in the human and physical capital of this country – investments that created the strongest middle class in the world and made our country the most powerful.

    At a time of stagnant growth and high unemployment, the far-right of the Republican party has been able to hold our economic security hostage in exchange for deep cuts that will reduce growth and employment and increase inequality in the short term without properly addressing the structural causes behind our long-term deficits.

    Government spending currently equals roughly 25 percent of GDP, while revenues being collected are at an historically low 15 percent of GDP. This gap, which represents our yearly deficit, is unsustainable – and despite the rhetoric cannot be bridged by spending cuts alone. Under the Clinton tax rates that prevailed during the 1990s the economy created a record number of jobs and the government actually ran a surplus for over two years, leaving a projected surplus through 2011 of $2.3 trillion. These budget deals included spending cuts and new revenues and should be the model we follow today. Unfortunately, the balanced budgets and growing surplus that were paying down the debt were destroyed through the reckless mismanagement of the Bush Administration and a Republican controlled Congress that undertook two wars, two massive tax cuts, and a Medicare prescription drug program which pays retail rather than negotiated prices. None of these policies were paid for with either equivalent spending cuts or new sources of revenue. And following the Great Recession, caused in large part by deregulation and the lack of oversight of our banking system, we are where we are today.

    This agreement, unfortunately, validates the political strategy of those Republican radicals who were willing to create default and economic chaos in order to avoid true compromise and a balanced approach. Their brinksmanship has eroded the global confidence in our system of government, a confidence that made the dollar the global reserve currency and the Treasury Bill the world’s safest investment. Should this deal be enacted, which looks likely, it will have a lasting negative effect on our economy, prevent investment in our infrastructure and weaken our economic competitiveness.

    • Progressive86

      The lunacy of this entire budget situation is something out of a Kafka novel.

      I would like to specially thank Rep. Moran for his leadership on this and so many other issues. Without representatives like Moran, the ship of government would have no chance of ever reaching land again.  

    • This budget deal is completely irresponsible and only begins to offset the $800 billion in tax cuts Congress extended last December, much of which benefits that portion of a taxpayer’s income in excess of $250,000.

      The deal contains spending caps and leaves the details to the Appropriations Committee and this new Joint Committee on Debt Reduction, but we already know what will have to be cut and we have a general idea of the magnitude. Annualized, the original version of the Republican Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House contained $100 billion in cuts and over 10 years that adds up to $1 trillion. The CR made deeps cuts to the safety net, including Low Income Heating Assistance, Community Action Agencies, Community Health Centers, the Woman, Infant and Child Nutrition program, and Legal Aid. It also cut important investments in our nation, including NASA, Head Start, TRIO, immunizations, AmeriCorps, Job Training, and High Speed Rail. And it cut general vital functions of government, such as Air Traffic Controllers, COPS and Firefighter grants, FBI, Clean Water Grants, FEMA, assistance to small shipyards, OSHA inspections, Border Security, National Parks, and Food Inspectors.

      To add insult to injury, the last section of the deal ends Federal subsidized student loans for graduate students and ends repayment incentives for students to pay back their loans on time and on schedule. Sadly, even with all these harmful cuts, the estimated savings of this deal only pay for half of the cost of extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts for another decade. If we insist on extending the Bush-era tax cuts at a cost of $4 trillion over 10 years, cutting Social Security and Medicare and other programs supporting our nation’s safety net, investments in our future and other traditional functions of government will be necessary.

      We are asking low income families, seniors, children, beneficiaries of government programs, and graduate students to help pay for extending tax cuts for millionaires. That’s just not right and we should have never gotten to this point. We should have been more responsible last December and been honest with the American people about the true cost of these tax cuts.

    • Per his Twitter feed: “I’ll be voting Yes on debt ceiling. Choice is proposal before Congress or catastrophic economic collapse”

    • Per his Twitter feed: “Voted against the debt deal due to deep defense cuts, which would be ‘very high risk'”

      Forbes adds:

      The legislation passed in the House this evening takes important steps toward long-term deficit reduction and puts our nation on a path toward passing a Balanced Budget Amendment.  While I support these twin-goals and have long held that we must stop spending more than our Treasury takes in, I ultimately could not support this legislation.  Our nation’s highest military commanders have stated on the record that deep defense cuts would be ‘extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.’  The most conservative estimates place total defense cuts over the next decade at nearly $900 billion, a security risk imposed upon the American people that I am unwilling to accept.  I will neither turn my back on the men and women of our military, nor will I sacrifice the security of this nation to win a deal with those unwilling to make the hard choices at home and instead prefer to turn a blind eye to the risks we face around the world.

    • While far from perfect, the current approach before Congress maintains economic stability by raising the debt ceiling and enacts important spending cuts that will help preserve our nation’s and Virginia’s credit rating.  This is the beginning of a much longer process as we work to rebuild our economy.

      I’ve said all along that our approach to restoring fiscal responsibility must be both bipartisan and balanced.  By establishing a joint committee with representation from both parties that is empowered to make additional cuts as well as raise new revenue, Congress has said that they also want a bipartisan and balanced result.  And, I sincerely hope that negotiating without the specter of default or economic collapse will result in less partisan maneuvering and grandstanding and more pragmatic solutions.

      I’m disappointed that my Republican opponents joined the Tea Party in choosing default over bipartisan compromise. As the next U.S. Senator from Virginia, my commitment will be to always put the best interest of the Commonwealth and the nation over politics, as many Members of Congress have done by standing behind this flawed but necessary agreement.

    • \

      What a wonderful moment, after all the acrimony of the past few weeks. Welcome back, Rep. Giffords!!!

      P.S. She voted for the debt ceiling bill, along with 58 other Democrats.

    • Here’s the statement by one of the hostage takers.

      Last November, 5th District Virginians sent a clear message that we must put an end to the reckless government spending in Washington that has led to a crippling $14 trillion debt and $1.5 trillion deficit.

      “Since the start of the new 112th Congress, the House has delivered on this message by consistently fighting to change the spending culture in Washington.

      As I have said from the beginning, I would only consider the President’s request for an increase in the debt ceiling if a plan was put in place that adhered to the principles of Cut, Cap, and Balance. And while this bill does not go far enough, I believe it lives up to those principles and moves the ball forward.

      This plan is not the final solution to our debt crisis, but it implements historic spending reforms that actually shrink the size and scope of the federal government and does so in spite of a Senate and White House that have remained committed to continuing the current spending status quo.

      Instead of providing the President with a blank check to raise the debt limit and instead of allowing massive tax increases on our job creators, the House changed the terms of the debate.

      Now, Washington is cutting spending by a larger amount than the increase in the debt limit. Now, enforceable spending caps will be put in place and for the first time in fifteen years, the House and Senate are guaranteed to vote on a balanced budget amendment. And now, we will address Washington’s spending problem without imposing job-destroying tax hikes on our families and small businesses.

      This plan is not perfect, but is a step in the right direction to move an inflexible Washington towards accepting true spending reforms and forcing the government to live within its means so that we can get our fiscal house in order to help grow the economy and create jobs for all 5th District Virginians.

    • votes no because it’s not extremist enough! The guy’s completely bonkers.

      Last week I made the difficult decision to compromise and voted for Speaker Boehner’s plan. While the Boehner plan was not perfect, it was a realistic approach and a step in the right direction. Among other things, it required passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution before a second increase in the debt ceiling.

      However, the legislation before us today was not quite as good.  By contrast, today’s deal only requires a Balanced Budget Amendment to be voted on – not passed.  I hope the Democrat controlled Senate will pass a Balanced Budget Amendment as a common sense solution to solve America’s debt problem, but it is far from certain. Additionally, there is a provision which, if there is congressional inaction, would allow President Obama to effectively raise the debt ceiling an additional $1.2 trillion, triggering an equal amount of blind cuts.

      After thoroughly reviewing the legislation and hearing from constituents, I came to the conclusion that I should not vote for this bill.

    • statement:

      Tonight the House prevented default and boosted economic certainty by ensuring America pays its bills while we start getting our fiscal house in order. This measure is not perfect or the way we would have done it if we were in charge, but it will finally begin to change the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars. As is the case with any major change, these things will take time and this is the first significant move – of many to come – to turn Washington around.

      For too many decades, both parties in this town have spent money that we just don’t have. By sending 87 new Republicans to the Congress this year, the American people sent a message and have begun to change the direction of this country by stopping the spending and starting the saving. And this measure that cuts spending and puts in place long-term fiscal reforms marks the first big change we have accomplished.

      The big win in this measure is that despite the insistence of the President and his party, there are no tax hikes. With so many people out of work, with the middle class hoping for more jobs, the last thing we need right now are tax hikes. I applaud the Speaker for his efforts and look forward to the Senate passing this measure tomorrow so the President can sign it and we can move our focus back to growing this economy and getting people back to work.