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Posted at 07:04 PM ET, 07/27/2011

Senate Democrats say they’re united against Boehner debt plan

The Senate Democratic caucus united Wednesday in opposition to the debt-ceiling plan drafted by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

All 53 members of the Senate Democratic caucus – including 51 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats, Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.) – announced their opposition to the plan in a letter to Boehner.

“A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it,” the senators write. “Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months. Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating.”

The letter was sent to Boehner one day before the House is expected to take up his measure, in what will be one of the most closely watched votes in the 112th Congress to date.

The Democratic senators wrote, “If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit” – and added that “even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide.”

House Republicans released a reworked version of their debt-ceiling proposal that comes closer to the $1.2 trillion in deficit savings promised by leadership, but the measure still falls short of that mark.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said earlier Wednesday that he believed not a single Democrat in the Senate would vote for the Boehner plan. Even if the proposal manages to pass the House on Thursday, the unanimous opposition by Senate Democrats means that it has no chance of passing the upper chamber in its current form.

The full letter from Senate Democrats is below.

July 27, 2011

Speaker John Boehner

U.S. Capitol, H-232

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner,

With five days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, we need to work together to ensure that our nation does not default on our obligations for the first time in our history. We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why.

A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it. Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months. Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating. If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit. Even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide.

In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans.

We now have only five days left to act. The entire world is watching Congress. We need to do the right thing to solve this problem. We must work together to avoid a default the responsible way – not in a way that will do America more harm than good.

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By  |  07:04 PM ET, 07/27/2011

 
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