Friday, January 18, 2013

Which viewpoint best represents your views on the debt ceiling?

Congressman Randy Forbes

In January of 1995, a constitutional amendment that mandated a balanced budget was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  Two months later, the balanced budget amendment was brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate where it failed by one vote. Since then, federal debt has more than tripled in size from $5.1 trillion to $16.4 trillion today.  Additionally, since 2007, the debt ceiling has been increased nine times - three of which were a result of the Budget Control Act - without Congressman Forbes' support.

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the sole power "to borrow money on the credit of the United States."  The United States reached its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling or borrowing limit at the end of 2012.  As a result, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner began a "debt issuance period", in which the U.S. suspended investments in a pair of government retirement funds through February 28, 2013 to tap into approximately $200 billion of emergency borrowing authority.

The Heritage Foundation has argued that the government should use this opportunity to engage in "real-time budgeting" and prioritize federal spending to allocate incoming funds to the government's highest priorities – interest on the debt, national security, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – and then apply the rest to remaining mandatory and discretionary accounts. 

The Center for New American Progress made the case that Congress has an obligation to raise the debt ceiling, as voting to increase the debt limit is "not a vote on how much we will spend or whether we will raise the money to pay for it but rather a vote on whether we will pay our bills."

Congressman Forbes believes that we must make it a priority to put our nation back on a path of fiscal prosperity.  We need to address the deficit and federal spending, but we also need to reform the way in which Congress acts in addressing the fiscal state of our nation.

Question of the week: Which viewpoint best represents your views on the debt ceiling?

( ) I would support a proposal to raise the debt ceiling if it included significant spending cuts.

( ) Congress should oppose an increase in the debt ceiling and allocate incoming funds to the government's highest priorities allowing for default on lower priority obligations.

( ) The U.S. must pay their bills and the debt ceiling should be raised without any negotiations.

( ) I don't know.

( ) Other.

Take the poll here.

Find out the results of last week's instaPoll here.
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