House Dems introduce bill to eliminate debt ceiling

Three congressional Democrats are introducing a bill Wednesday that would abolish the federal debt ceiling. The lawmakers say that the recent debate to raise the ceiling and avoid default had a "disastrous" effect on the U.S economy, and that the legislation would keep parties from using a potential default as a hostage in future budget debates.

"The debt ceiling is truly arbitrary and has nothing to do with the deficit," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement last Wednesday. "The debt ceiling does not prevent the United States from incurring new debts. That occurs when Congress decides to authorize more spending than revenues. The debt ceiling prevents the president from borrowing money to pay those debts when they come due."

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Virginia Democrat Jim Moran and Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson will join Nadler in introducing the legislation. But the bill is unlikely to gain traction, especially in the Republican-controlled House. Members of the GOP were encouraged that they were able to use the debt ceiling as leverage to attain deep budget cuts during negotiations with President Obama and the Senate.

"Nobody wants to see defaults happening — but we also think it's important to get a handle on future borrowing as we deal with raising the debt limit," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in April.

But Nadler says the Republican position is "radical" and Jim Moran said that the GOP was using the debt ceiling as a "political weapon."

“Republicans in Congress have shown they are willing to hold the fate of our economy hostage by using the debt ceiling as a political weapon. It’s a tactic that has far ranging effects, disrupting financial markets, damaging the peoples’ trust in government and delaying consideration of must-pass legislation to create jobs and get our economy back on track," Moran said.



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