For his first legislative effort in the new 113th Congress, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today introduced a Sense of the Senate resolution to put Senators on the record to affirm that Congress holds the sole authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States and cannot cede this power to the President. At issue are recent statements, by the President and his Administration, making it quite clear they would like the unilateral power to raise the Nation's debt ceiling without the required, and often politically difficult, vote in congress.
"In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers unequivocally gave the power of the purse to Congress, and that is where it should remain," Roberts said. "Today, we face a mountain of debt due to this Administration's out of control government spending. Giving the President unilateral power to incur more public debt will only create more long term financial peril for our children and grandchildren."
"Preserving Congress' role in establishing the debt limit is a vital component to making deficit reduction a reality. Not only does the debt limit provide an essential check on executive borrowing, it provides public accountability for Congress' spending practices. The debt limit additionally allows Congress to step back and evaluate fiscal policy's impact on debt. Abdicating this role would fundamentally alter the checks and balances embedded in the Constitution and should not be bargained away."
Senator Roberts introduced the measure with the support of 6 colleagues including:
Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Johanns (R- NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
Senator Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance which has jurisdiction over measures to raise the debt limit.
The following is the text of the resolution:
Expressing the sense of the Senate that Congress holds the sole authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States and shall not cede this power to the President.
Whereas it is Congress' prerogative and duty to decide how much the nation will borrow and for what purposes;
Whereas Congress has the responsibility under the Constitution to regulate the terms and conditions under which the nation borrows funds;
Whereas Congress has the power and the obligation to ensure that payments are made on the national debt;
Whereas Congress is directly accountable to the people concerning any tax and spending burdens placed upon the public;
Whereas these Constitutional powers and responsibilities create an appropriate check on the executive branch and preclude the President from raising taxes and issuing debt; and
Whereas on November 29, 2012, the Secretary of the Treasury, on behalf of the President, proposed that Congress should surrender its authority to establish the debt limit of the United States to the executive branch: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the Congress should retain its authority vested in article 1, section 8 of the Constitution to ""borrow money on the credit of the United States'' and not provide the executive branch with exclusive power to issue debt on behalf of the United States Government.
*To download the high resolution video of Senator Roberts' Remarks click the following link: http://www.roberts.senate.gov/public/_files/Floor Speech - Debt Limit Resolution 1-23-13.mov