Today I offered an amendment to the House Rules Committee that would allow the U.S. Treasury to automatically raise the debt ceiling unless a supermajority of Congress voted to block the action. My measure would make permanent a provision first proposed by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during fiscal negotiations in the summer of 2011.
While we need to control our nation's spending, hijacking the debt ceiling process and holding our entire economy hostage isn't the sensible way to do it. Even if we do not actually default, the brinksmanship of last summer's debt ceiling debate cost the American taxpayers $1.3 billion, which the Bipartisan Policy Center projects to be $19 billion over ten years. This amendment is the responsible way to govern because we can't put the full faith and credit of the United States in the hands of extremists who believe compromise and collaboration to be vices.
Under the process outlined in the amendment, the President will notify Congress when the nation is within $100 billion of the debt limit. Congress will then have 15 days to adopt a resolution of disapproval with a veto-proof majority, but if no Congressional action is taken, the debt ceiling is automatically raised and the risk of default due to partisan gridlock is avoided. This is the responsible way to handle our nation's finances.