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Sewell votes to prevent U.S. default

Sewell was the Alabama member of Congress to vote in favor of raising the debt limit.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell during a committee hearing. Office of Rep. Terri Sewell

Congresswoman Terri Sewell was the only member of the Alabama congressional delegation to vote Tuesday to pay America’s bills. 

Sewell and other Democrats in the House voted to pass legislation suspending the debt limit and allowing the country to pay its debt obligations at least through Dec. 3. The legislation is a stop-gap meant to give Congress more time to negotiate a longer deal, as Republicans attempt to use the issue as a bargaining tool. 

“Defaulting on our credit would cause an unprecedented economic collapse, hurting every American and every Alabamian,” Sewell said. “Contrary to what some would have you believe, suspending the debt limit does not authorize any new spending. This is about paying bills that have piled up under previous administrations including President Trump’s. Addressing the debt ceiling is the responsible thing to do, and I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues to protect families from catastrophe and pay our bills.”

The legislation passed, 219-206, on a straight party-line vote in the House. Eleven Republican senators, including Alabama’s Richard Shelby, voted for the legislation in the senate. 

The debt increase covers what the country already owes — a large portion of which was incurred during the Trump administration, which racked up nearly $8 trillion in debt over four years. Much of that debt is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and Trump’s massive tax cuts. 

Republicans have vowed not to work with Democrats on a future debt increase — a move that will be necessary prior to Dec. 4 to prevent default. Such a stalemate could force Democrats to eliminate the filibuster in order to prevent default. 

A study from Moody’s, which was included in a press statement sent out Tuesday by Sewell’s office, shows that, among other problems, a U.S. debt default would result in the loss of six million jobs and more than $15 trillion in household wealth.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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