After voting against a recent Republican-sponsored spending proposal, U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, joined fellow Democrats Jared Golden and Mary Sattler Peltola in sending a letter to President Joe Biden and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, urging them to engage in negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a debt default by the federal government.
“We’re running out of time to avoid a default on our nation’s debt obligations,” Gluesenkamp Perez said. “Families, workers and businesses in Southwest Washington cannot afford the dire economic consequences of a default. Speaker McCarthy needs to stop listening to extremists and start listening to moderates on both sides of the aisle. Congress also needs to pass a serious bipartisan plan to shrink the deficit and take on the national debt. The partisan bill shoved through the House today does none of that. Instead it undermines our ability to work toward a clean energy future, support our veterans, and level the playing field for the middle class. It was a waste of time our country cannot afford right now. Today I joined my colleagues Rep. Golden and Rep. Peltola in calling on President Biden and Congressional leadership to work together and find a solution that avoids a default. More games and more delay is unacceptable.”
In their letter, the three Democratic lawmakers emphasized the devastating impact a default would have on their constituents and the economy while expressing their willingness to work across the aisle to reach a deal.
The lawmakers asked Biden and McCarthy to end what they referred to as a partisan standoff before it “rattles markets, damages our economy and hurts the American people.” The three pointed to the 2011 debt ceiling standoff that led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the federal government’s credit rating for the first time in history.
“To allow for that scenario to occur once again would be an abject failure. The American people would rightfully hold us all — both the Congress and the White House — accountable,” the letter stated.
The representatives added a failure to raise the debt limit would prevent the federal government from meeting its legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, and tax refunds. They also argued economists have estimated hitting the debt limit would halt 10% of America’s economic activity, resulting in a loss of millions of jobs, an increase in interest rates and a devaluation of the U.S. Dollar.
“With this reality, we call on both the President and the Speaker to engage in genuine talks offering real proposals that will result in an agreement to lift the debt limit,” the lawmakers said. “We stand ready to work with each of you and our colleagues to reach an agreement that serves our country and the American people.”