Congressman Jerry Lewis issued the following statement regarding the debt limit agreement reached by Congressional leaders:
"The bipartisan and bicameral agreement in Congress is very encouraging because it eases the likelihood of the crisis we were facing Tuesday as we moved toward a very dangerous economic cliff.
There is no question that Congress has a fundamental responsibility to prevent the serious economic fallout that would result from not extending the federal debt limit. This agreement will also set us on a course for much more responsible spending at the federal level, and does not threaten jobs by increasing taxes.
However, I am deeply concerned that Congress may be threatening our MOST important responsibility -- the defense of our nation - in our desire to resolve this fiscal dilemma. It is not clear in the least that this agreement will guarantee adequate defense spending to maintain America's role of defending freedom throughout the world.
America's leadership for peace around the globe is fundamentally based upon our military strength. We have witnessed in the past the dangerous effects of ill-advised reductions in supporting our military. Defense spending must continue to be our highest priority for discretionary spending in this agreement and in the future.
I have strongly supported our leadership's efforts to rein in runaway federal spending. I agree that we MUST change the direction of our spending patterns, or bankruptcy is a strong possibility. The least we might see is a debt burden placed on the backs of our children and grandchildren that could radically alter their way of life.
But I am dismayed to see that this final agreement could jeopardize our commitment to make the world a safer place for our future generations. I believe it is dangerous to use cuts in defense spending as a cure-all for our deficit woes.
I understand that our leadership has had to make a difficult compromise in order to avoid our fiscal calamity. But I call on all members of Congress to pledge that we will make preserving future defense spending as our TOP priority as we consider the members of the debt commission, and I urge those members to make it their top priority as they deliberate on how we will put our federal fiscal house in order."