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Rep. Tom Cole: Breaching debt ceiling would be catastrophic

by Chris Casteel Published: October 14, 2013

In a column released Monday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, warns of the consequences if the nation’s debt limit is not increased. Here are excerpts from the column:

“In our current situation, our country could face grave consequences with the looming October 17 debt ceiling deadline. You might wonder what it would really mean for America if we just missed the deadline and did nothing, like we did on October 1 without passing a funding measure to keep the government open. It would be catastrophic, felt by every American immediately and severely. The first missed payment would lead to default, causing Social Security checks to be delayed, military to not be paid, financial markets to tank and banks to reduce lending.

“Never in our country’s history have we exceeded our borrowing limit and been unable to pay our bills and creditors. Allowing the United States to inch closer to this dangerous situation must be addressed immediately, but in that conversation, we must also acknowledge our unsustainable spending patterns. If we simply raise the debt limit without any effort to address federal spending, we will be in the same situation sooner than any of us would like.”

“Fortunately, both Republicans and Democrats agree that we cannot risk the full faith and credit of the United States of America. I am encouraged that negotiations are taking place and that House Leadership proposed a short-term fix with the greater goal of finding long-term budget solutions. The president’s willingness to engage is a step in the right direction, both for the debt ceiling and the need to reopen the government.

“Passing the deadline to fund the government on October 1 was unfair and disappointing to say the least. The fact that thousands of federal workers are still suffering is unacceptable. While we are close to solving the debt ceiling crisis, we cannot leave the rest of the American people behind and ignore the current federal shutdown at hand. Congress must fulfill its basic responsibility to pass a budget and restore full funding for all government agencies. In engaging on the debt ceiling, we’ve protected many job creators, but what about federal workers that make $35,000 per year? They are just as important to the greatness of our country, and we must act quickly for those who need and want to get back to work.”

“This has gone on long enough. House Republicans are willing to meet the president halfway, but the president must also move toward us and find common ground. The future of our country depends on his leadership, and this is his opportunity to show he can rise to the occasion.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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