Rep. Richard Neal: 'The bill has come due' on raising debt ceiling
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal said recently that he intends to vote to raise the nation's debt ceiling, a vote House Republicans say they won't make unless it's coupled with reductions in federal spending.
The Springfield Democrat told WGBY's Jim Madigan that Congressional action on the debt ceiling "ought to be a clear up-or-down vote," echoing calls from the White House and Congressional Democrats that the debt limit vote not be tied to any additional legislation.
Neal's statements stand in contrast to House Speaker John Boehner, who in a speech Monday said that he and his fellow Republicans would not vote to raise the limit on national debt, currently at $14.3 trillion, without trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts.
Many economists have said that a failure to raise the debt ceiling could have negative implications for the nation's economic recovery, as a federal default could cause interest rates to rise, make essential government services even more expensive by complicating how they are paid for and weaken international confidence in the American economy.
Boehner argued Monday that a failure to rein in spending could have a similar effect.
"It would send a signal to investors and entrepreneurs everywhere that America still is not serious about dealing with our spending addiction," Boehner said, according to The New York Times. "It would erode confidence in our economy and reduce the certainty for small businesses. And frankly I think it would kill even more American jobs."
In his appearance on WGBY's "Connecting Point," Neal was quick to point out that a number of Republican-supported measures have contributed significantly to the national debt.
"The money for the war in Iraq was borrowed," Neal said. "The money for the war in Afghanistan was borrowed. The money for the tax cuts was borrowed. And now the bill has come due, so in a sense, the people who set the fire are now the ones calling the fire department."
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