When we try to curb the surges of unchanging human nature or to quench a conflagration with an act of legislature … we are every bit as foolish, as I’ll prove to any jury, as those enterprising beavers when they dammed the big Missouri.— “The Beavers,” A. Guiterman
The debt limit law is a silly law–totally unnecessary. There is no point to laws by which the legislature imposes conditions on itself that it can’t or won’t meet. The debt limit needs to be raised periodically to allow bills to be paid. This law is a political football; during a Republican Administration Democrats complain and vice versa. If Congress delays, creating uncertainty, the nations credit rating suffers. In the end, the limit must be raised. Here is what Rep. Capuano (D-MA) has to say about the current impasse:
The Treasury Department has estimated that very soon, in early November, the debt limit will have to be raised in order to pay bills already incurred. This is not for additional spending; it concerns money that the federal government has already spent. If the debt limit is not increased then the U.S. government will default on its financial obligations. Instead of considering legislation to raise the debt limit the House instead considered H.R. 692, the Default Prevention Act. This legislation gives the Treasury Department the authority to keep borrowing once the debt limit is reached, but the money can ONLY be used to pay the principal and interest on debt held by the public. The largest holder of this debt is China. H.R. 692 prioritizes China over everything else the federal government funds such as veterans’ benefits, military pay, Medicare, housing, nutrition assistance and transportation. Democrats are calling H.R. 692 the Pay China First Act because that’s exactly what it is. The Administration has stated that H.R. 692 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 692 passed.
Most Republicans voted YEA on H.R. 692; every Democrat who voted voted NO. Rep. Reed, as one might expect, voted YEA.
Reportedly, Speaker Boehner may arrange for a short-term debt limit increase before leaving office. Better, he should plan for the long-term or repeal this silly law, putting these periodic imbroglios behind us.