By Patricia L Johnson and Richard E Walrath
Following is an excerpt from a letter written February 7, 2014 to John A. Boehner, Speaker of the House from Department of Treasury Secretary, Jacob J. Lew.
“As you know, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 temporarily suspended the statutory debt limit through today, February 7, 2014. Because Congress has not acted to approve normal borrowing authority, Treasury must begin implementing extraordinary measures that enable us, on a temporary basis, to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and to continue paying the nation’s bills.”.
The reason the paragraph began ‘as you know’ is due to the fact numerous communications have been sent by the Treasury Secretary to the Speaker of the House during the months preceding February 7, 2014 regarding the February 7, 2014 suspension date, yet our ‘do nothing Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives’ has once again done what they do best, which is NOTHING.
What is the debt ceiling and why does it matter whether or not it’s raised?
The definition from Treasury follows:
“The debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. The debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.”
U.S. Debt as of February 6, 2014 follows:
To put it bluntly, the only thing our do nothing Congress would be doing is approving payment of obligations that have already been approved. It’s a no brainer on their part. There is nothing to think about, the debt limit must be raised because the U.S. has to cover its obligations. It is not a complicated issue, yet they attempt to make it one whenever they have the opportunity.
According to Reuters “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Friday left a spot open in his weekly House floor schedule for “possible consideration of the legislation related to the debt limit” on Wednesday.
“Possible consideration”? What is wrong with these people?
We still haven’t recovered from Republicans playing games with the debt ceiling. On August 5, 2011 Standard and Poor’s lowered the long term credit rating of the United States one notch from AAA to AA+. On June 10, 2013 S&P revised their long-term rating from negative to stable, but did not increase the reduced sovereign credit rating. It remains at AA+.
Since 1960 the debt ceiling in this country has been raised a total of 78 times, 49 times under Republican administrations and 29 times under Democratic administrations. Why does it become such a major issue for this administration?
President Obama is well past the stage of crying “uncle” when the Republicans make absurd demands in order to do their job. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to get over the fact there is a black man sitting in the oval office and do the job they were hired by the voters to do and that is to get this country moving in the right direction, not see how many obstacles they can put in place on our path to progress.
© 2014 Patricia L Johnson and Richard E Walrath