By Brandon Moseley
Late Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation to increase the nation's debt ceiling, in a vote of 50 to 49. Early Wednesday, the House voted 221-209, approving the bill.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL7) voted to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Doing so protects the full faith and credit of the United States and averts a government shutdown and potential credit default. The move also allows Congressional Democrats to fund President Joe Biden’s (D) spending proposal further adding to the national debt.
“Members of Congress should never play politics with the full faith and credit of the United States,” said Sewell. “We have an obligation to pay our bills that have piled up under previous administrations including President Trump's. Addressing the debt limit is the responsible thing to do, and I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues to protect families from catastrophe and pay our bills.”
Some Democrats said the bill is not about “new debts.”
“I want to be very clear: raising the debt ceiling is not about incurring new debts but rather enabling the federal government to keep its existing commitments," said Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia.) "By raising the debt limit, we are meeting our existing obligations to members of the military, veterans and recipients of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."
Sewell’s office said that raising the debt limit does not authorize future spending. It is about meeting obligations the government has already made, including to Social Security recipients, veterans and to the millions who have benefited from the bipartisan COVID relief legislation passed last December – which was authored by multiple GOP Senators and voted for by more than 40 Republicans and signed into law by the previous president.
Sewell’s office said that protecting the full faith and credit of the United States has long been a bipartisan responsibility of Congress. Congress has addressed the debt limit nearly 80 times since 1960: 30 times with a Democrat in the White House and 49 times under a Republican president.
Democrats helped to raise the debt ceiling three times under the Trump Administration. Republicans supported suspending the debt limit all three times that it needed to be addressed in the last Administration when the debt rose by $7.8 trillion.
Republicans argue that raising the debt ceiling while adding billions of dollars to the debt in new social programs while we are at full employment is only going to increase inflation and harm families with winter and the holidays upon us.
Citing a recent report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said, “A record-high number of small businesses were forced to raise their prices in November due to inflation. Increasingly expensive goods and supplies, labor shortages, and supply chain issues are making normal life harder and more costly for average Americans. But Democrats in Washington apparently think raising the debt ceiling again and throwing trillions more dollars at the problems will make them stop. But week after week, reports confirm what's abundantly obvious by now: Biden economic policies are failing Americans.”
Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill. It will now go to Biden for a signature.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email [email protected]