By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The U.S. House voted today to lift the debt ceiling until May to avoid a debt crisis that would have dominated the month of February.
U.S. Mo Brooks (R) from Huntsville refused to support the bill as written. Rep. Brooks said on Facebook, “This morning, I stated on the House floor that I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless significant efforts are made to fix the underlying problem of deficits and accumulated debt that risk America’s future.”
Rep. Brooks said, “I can only speak for me. I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless significant efforts are made to fix the underlying problem of deficits and accumulated debt that force debt ceiling votes and risk America’s future.”
Congressman Brooks said, “Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen testified before the House Armed Services Committee that America ‘is maintaining nearly historic fiscal deficits and national debt. Indeed, I believe that our debt is the greatest threat to our national security. If we as a country do not address our fiscal imbalances in the near-term, our national power will erode, and the costs to our ability to maintain and sustain influence could be great.’ Admiral Mullen is right. Debt caused sequestration. Debt and sequestration will slash our uniform personnel to their lowest levels since before World War II, reduce our navy to its smallest number of operational vessels since World War I, and cut our Air Force to the smallest number of operational air craft in its history. In sum, debt is putting America’s national security at risk.”
Rep. Brooks said of a Comptroller General of the United States report on America’s financial health: “I have reviewed many government audits and financial statements during my three decades in public service. I have never seen warnings as stark as those given by the GAO to President Obama” Rep. Brooks said that the GAO report showed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported about $85 billion in net valuation losses, the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s liabilities exceeded its assets by about $34 billion, the U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of almost $16 billion, and the Federal Housing Administration reported that its liabilities exceeded its assets by about $15 billion.
Rep. Brooks said that, “America is on a path to insolvency and bankruptcy, an event that will debilitate our country. America has incurred four consecutive, unsustainable trillion dollar deficits and is in the midst of a fifth consecutive trillion dollar deficit. America’s national debt exceeds $16 trillion. Interest on our debt is well in excess of $200 billion per year. To put our debt service in perspective, that is more than four times what the federal government annually spends on ALL highway and transportation infrastructure projects in America each year. Unless Washington becomes financially responsible, future debt service costs will escalate and even more money will be spent on debt service rather than programs that serve Americans.”
Congressman Brooks warned, “America’s current path and federal budget is unsustainable. Absent changes, a federal government insolvency and bankruptcy is certain to result and cause an economic disaster unrivaled in America’s history.”
The House of Representatives voted today to increase America’s debt ceiling. The nearly four-month extension of U.S. borrowing capacity is a strategic move by House Republicans to avoid a fight over the looming federal debt ceiling until May, giving their leaders more time to negotiate with President Obama and Senate Democrats. The House can then focus on dealing with looming sequestration cuts. The U.S. Treasury would have run out of money sometime in February or March forcing a shutdown of many Government functions unless Congress approved raising the debt ceiling.
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.
To see video of Rep. Brooks’ remarks on the house floor: