By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, October 21, US Representatives Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) voted for HR692, the Default Prevention Act. HR692 was introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-California), and passed the Republican controlled US House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 235 to 194.
This bill would ensure that the debt of the United States is always paid, and default is always avoided, by ensuring that the Treasury can always borrow for the sole purpose of paying the principal and interest on the debt held by the public, or the Social Security Trust Fund, in the event the statutory debt limit is reached. This takes the threat of default off of the table in any future government “shutdowns.”
Congressman Palmer said in a statement, “The federal government needs to get its fiscal house in order. Instead, for far too long, we have simply lifted the debt ceiling every time it has gotten in the way of more spending, because the specter of defaulting on our sovereign debt and Social Security recipients not being paid hamper attempts to change our spending habits. This bill would ensure that those obligations are always covered, while not allowing the threat of default to hamstring those who are not inclined to lift the debt ceiling without serious reforms.”
Congressman Brooks said in a statement “President Obama has declared, ‘In case there’s any confusion, I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations; I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.’ Obama continued, ‘Let’s stop the threats, stop the political posturing.’ With this statement, President Obama threatens to withhold payment of our sovereign debt obligations if we don’t unconditionally raise the debt ceiling. Congress established a debt ceiling to give fiscally responsible Congressmen the opportunity to negotiate solutions that get us off the path to insolvency and bankruptcy. If we raise the debt ceiling with no conditions, what purpose does the debt ceiling serve This bill makes it crystal clear that the President must prioritize the principal and interest on our sovereign debt, removing the effectiveness of President Obama’s threat.”
To finance the TARP bailout of the economy following the 2008-2009 Great Recession and then stimulate the economy while avoiding major cuts to domestic spending programs the government has borrowed a vast amount of money since 2008. The national debt has soared to $18,415 billion and we are near the debt ceiling once again.
US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said on Facebook, “President Obama and Democrats have repeatedly said they will not negotiate or consider spending cuts when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. That is not how our government is supposed to work. Without much-needed spending cuts, I am not inclined to support any increase in the debt ceiling.”
HR692 would prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debt while Republicans halt raising the debt ceiling to get concessions from the Obama administration and Democrats who have been loathe to slow the grow in entitlements or the President’s ambitious domestic agenda, meaning HR692 has little chance of becoming law.
Representative Brooks wrote, “Of course, we don’t expect the President to sign this bill into law. The Democrats won’t even allow this bill to get a vote in the Senate because they have no desire to face the hard choices necessary to keep our country from bankruptcy. This expectation, however, does not prevent us from doing our duty and helping focus the attention of the American people on the need to live within our means.”
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District and is in his third term in the House. US Representative Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District and is in his first full term in the House (he also finished the remainder of retired Congressman Jo Bonner’s last term).
Congressman Gary Palmer is a member of the House Budget Committee and is a cosponsor of HR692.
Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District and is in his first term in the House.