U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) today voted against raising the public debt limit to $14.3 trillion--or $121,982 owed by every American household.
"We cannot borrow, spend and tax our way back to a growing economy," Gallegly said. "We cannot borrow, spend and tax our way to job growth. Americans are hurting and this just puts an additional stress on the American economy, as well as placing Americans deeper in debt."
Raising the national debt limit another $1.9 trillion--the largest increase in history--passed on a 217-212 vote. The vote against increasing the limit was bipartisan, with 37 Democrats joining all Republicans in voting no. The Senate voted to increase the debt limit earlier this week.
Beginning in 2013 and for every year thereafter, the debt subject to the limit actually exceeds the value of every good and service produced in the United States. Additionally, under the president's budget it is estimated Congress would need to increase the debt limit again before Oct. 1, 2011.
Such levels of debt are unsustainable and invite potentially dire economic consequences. Foreign investors, who hold more than half of the U.S. debt held by the public, may demand sharply higher interest rates if they begin to question U.S. commitment to a sustainable budget path.
Higher interest rates could worsen an already precarious fiscal situation. On Wednesday, Moody's Investor Service Inc. said the U.S. government's bond rating will come under pressure unless additional measures are taken to reduce the budget deficits projected for the next decade.
The debt limit increase comes on the heels of President Obama unveiling his fiscal year 2011 budget proposal that drives spending to a record $3.8 trillion, pushes the deficit to a record $1.6 trillion, and raises taxes by more than $2 trillion.
Under the president's budget, the national debt will soar from $10 trillion at the beginning of 2009 when President Obama took office to more than $25.8 trillion in 2020--an increase of 147 percent.
Over the next 10 years, annual deficits average $917 billion under the president's budget.
Gallegly supports adopting strict budget caps that limit federal spending on an annual basis and are enforceable by the president. These caps were a critical plank in the budget the minority party proposed last year, led by Budget Committee Ranking Member Paul Ryan, and they were notably absent from the president's budget. Without these caps, the federal budget deficit will continue to spiral out of control.