WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the Treasury Department’s announcement that the statutory debt ceiling has been reached, and that the Secretary of the Treasury can avoid default only by undertaking bookkeeping acrobatics:
“When it comes to raising the U.S.’s debt limit, the third time is not a charm.
“For the third time in three years, the Bush Administration has piled up so much debt that it has hit the limit on the amount of debt the U.S. allows itself to hold. This is a direct result of President Bush’s and the Republican Congress’s irresponsible policies and will force the Treasury Department to perform bookkeeping acrobatics to avoid defaulting on U.S. fiscal responsibilities.
“The Bush White House will predictably pass the buck and blame the 9/11 terrorist attack, corporate wrongdoing, the recession, the war on terror and the war in Iraq for the record deficits. Those excuses have long rung hollow. President Bush has racked up more debt in the last year and a half than all the Presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan combined – 200 years of Presidents who faced momentous challenges like the Civil War, the Great Depression and two World Wars.
“Republican Congressional leaders were well aware that this day was approaching. But because they were unable to hide an increase in the debt limit in the 2005 budget, which was blocked by Republican infighting and bickering, they irresponsibly ducked a politically uncomfortable vote in an election year. Republicans left town with fingers crossed that the U.S. government wouldn’t default before the election.
“President Bush has no plan to deal with the massive debt which otherwise will create a drag on our economy, raise interest rates and be passed on to our children. Democrats believe it is immoral to pass along our debts to our children. Democrats, as John Kerry stated clearly last night in the presidential debate, will return to the successful ‘pay-as-you-go’ policies which ushered in an era of surpluses and economic prosperity in the 1990s.”
In 2002, the Bush Administration requested that the debt ceiling be increased by $450 billion. In 2003, the Bush Administration asked for a second increase of $984 billion, the largest increase ever. The third request is expected to be for an increase of $690 billion – for a total of $2.124 trillion over four years.