Newspaper article Roll Call

Republican Strategy Is a Default, Plain and Simple | Commentary

Newspaper article Roll Call

Republican Strategy Is a Default, Plain and Simple | Commentary

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Republican Strategy Is a Default, Plain and Simple | Commentary

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* By Rep. Sander M. Levin

* Sept. 28, 2015, 3:26 p.m.

The Republican majority in Congress has said that the inability to govern is following the same failed strategy time and again. Yet, once again House Republicans are putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk. Their repeated behavior is reckless and irresponsible, and has had real consequences.

Earlier this month, Republicans in the Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would put the United States on a path to default. The so-called Default Prevention Act says once the debt limit prevents us from paying all of our bills, the Treasury Department must continue to fully pay all obligations to China and other foreign bondholders, while permitting default on other debts -- such as those owed to active duty troops, disabled veterans, scientists searching for cures for deadly diseases, doctors and nurses who treat Medicare patients, and small businesses providing services to our government.

The GOP's claim is that by paying some of our debts but not others, the U.S. avoids default on our bonds. But their strategy is simply default by another name. "The idea that financial markets would not question our overall creditworthiness (and would not wonder how long they will be protected from such nonsense) is fanciful," said Neil Buchanan, an economist and law professor at The George Washington University. And MIT economist Simon Johnson warned at a hearing that if the U.S. were to default on any obligation, it would have a catastrophic effect on the credit market in the U.S. and much of the world. Without access to credit, American businesses would close their doors, unemployment would skyrocket, and our gross domestic product would decline sharply.

We cannot afford to put our country in such a situation -- the consequences would be devastating.

Republicans have threatened default -- and damaged our economy -- twice before. …

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