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Public Statements

Increasing The Statutory Limit On The Public Debt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I agree with strong comprehensive efforts to eliminate the annual Federal deficit and reduce the national debt. Regrettably, the events of the past several decades demonstrate that Congress has failed to demonstrate the political will to deal with the deficit and debt.

However, I am concerned about legislation to delegate to a commission Congress's core constitutional responsibilities on matters like Social Security, Medicare, and revenue.

I was deeply involved in a related issue when I was the lead party-plaintiff and personally argued against the closing of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the case of Dalton v. Specter. In a similar context, the Congress created a military base closing commission which decided which bases to close with only a yes-or-no vote by Congress on the entire package. I argued the case personally in the Supreme Court of the United States in 1994 and the Court upheld the closing of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the context that the Court would have had to overturn closures of some 300 other bases involved in the same commission report.

It is a tough vote to again vote to raise the debt ceiling, but it is indispensable if the U.S. Government is to function and retain its credit standing in the world commercial markets. I will continue to work and to press my colleagues to exercise the political will to eliminate the deficit and reduce the national debt.


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