Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Budget and Finance Committees, today voted to keep the United States of America from defaulting on its debts for the first time in our nation’s history. He made the following remarks after the Senate passed a bipartisan measure 74-26.
“This budget crisis has already harmed our nation and could have been avoided. Unfortunately, a few Republican lawmakers have held our economy hostage, playing a dangerous game with the full faith and credit of the United States. The American people made it clear that they want us to work together to find a bipartisan solution to avoid default. They have urged us – through Facebook, twitter, phone calls, e-mails and letters -- to provide certainty to the markets, our creditors, as well as our soldiers fighting overseas, seniors depending on Social Security, small businesses relying on affordable credit, and working families struggling to keep up payments on credit cards.
“The resulting agreement is far from perfect, but it is a positive step forward by raising the debt ceiling through 2013, providing important stability to the American people and the financial markets. Short-term proposals would have continued to harm our economy and likely would have brought about a rerun of the latest partisan episode. The agreement provides for nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction during the next 10 years. But importantly, it protects domestic priorities by allowing more than $40 billion in discretionary domestic spending next year than the Republican budget that passed the House. The agreement also calls for at least an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction to be agreed to later this year. The failure to enact these additional reductions would trigger across-the-board cuts. The package balances these cuts equally between defense and domestic programs, and – a very important point – it protects Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries.
“However, I remain concerned that this ‘compromise’ may not provide appropriate balance to solving our long-term deficit and debt problem. I’m also troubled by the lack of additional revenue measures, including closing tax loopholes for millionaires and subsidies for oil companies already making record profits.
“We have a responsibility to act. Default on our debt for the first time in our nation’s history is not an option. Our leaders have negotiated a bipartisan compromise. Now that it has passed the Congress, we must turn our attention to creating jobs and strengthening our economy.”