BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Article I, section 8.1:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
Now Amendment 14, section 4:
The validity of the public debt of the United States ..... including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services ..... shall not be questioned.
But that's precisely what the Republican Party, the Republican majority, is doing today. I have many friends on the Republican side of the aisle whom I respect, but I've never been as disappointed in them as I am today.
``Pari passu.'' That means ``equal.'' The United States of America, for 235 years, has treated all of its creditors equally. If you're the landlord, if you get a salary, if you mow the lawn on the National Mall, you get paid at the same time that somebody who loans money to the United States gets paid. Everybody gets paid. That's how we treat it. We don't treat it that China or Wall Street or Saudi Arabia, because they've loaned us money, gets paid before the nurse working in one of our VA hospitals. That's not America. That is wrong. That is not how we run our country. It is unconstitutional.
I'd say to my friends that this short, little bill of yours to prioritize our debts is exactly the wrong thing to do. If I were a credit-rating agency, I'd say, if you're prioritizing your debts, you're getting ready to not pay somebody. Everybody is treated equally. If I were that credit rating agency, I would downgrade us today.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PERLMUTTER. I'd say to my friends on the Republican side of the aisle, to the majority party: Don't do this. This is wrong. This is not our Nation.
We have built this Nation on equality, and that includes the equality of payment. Whether you're a landlord or if you work for the country or if you're a veteran, whatever it may be, you get paid. That's how we operate it.
We in this Congress have the ability not only to raise the revenue that's needed to do that but to manage our expenses, but we don't stiff anybody. So I'd say to my friends: Withdraw this bill now. It is bad legislation. It is wrong for this Nation. Get rid of it.