Today, Congresswoman Sewell (D-AL) issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 2560, "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill introduced by Republican lawmakers:
"Today I voted responsibly against a bill misleadingly named the "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill. It is absolutely necessary that this nation doesn't default on its obligations, and that we fulfill our country's fiscal commitments. The bill that I voted against today would undercut the Federal Government's ability to meet its core commitments to seniors, children, middle-class families and our vulnerable populations. The bill sets out a false and unacceptable choice between the federal government- defaulting on its obligations now or, alternatively, pass a Balanced Budget Amendment that, in the years ahead, will likely leave the nation unable to meet its core commitments. The bill would cap federal spending at a level not seen in over half a century, resulting in severe cuts to Medicare, Social Security, education and research and development. Cutting funding for programs that serve children, the elderly and working families is not the answer to our nation's deficit crisis.
I believe we must exercise fiscal discipline in our spending as well as fiscal responsibility in managing our debt. These types of political games that threaten the creditworthiness of our nation are reprehensible and cannot continue. America's economy is a stabilizing force in the global economic market. This stability is essential for our continued economic recovery and our ability to borrow necessary funds at low interest rates. Instead of pursuing an empty political statement and unrealistic policy goals, it is necessary to move beyond politics as usual and find common ground.
If Congress continues to delay an extension of the debt limit, a broad range of government payments will have to be stopped, limited or delayed. Those payments include retirement benefits, Social Security and Medicare payments, military salaries, unemployment benefits and tax refunds. This delay would impose additional hardship on hard-working American families during these already challenging economic times and will raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests. The risk of allowing such a catastrophic default to occur is one that I am not willing to take.
Neither setting arbitrary spending levels nor amending the Constitution is necessary to restore fiscal responsibility. I look forward to supporting a comprehensive measure that minimizes our debt, balances the federal budget and creates jobs."