August 5, 2011
By Nada Shamah
The debt ceiling has officially been raised.
With just moments to spare, Republicans and Democrats put down their boxing gloves and settled months of bickering and pointing the finger to come to an agreement that would save the country from the embarrassment of having their credit value decrease and running out of borrowed money to pay its bills.
The deal is supposed to cut federal spending.
Despite Republicans saying they refuse to raise taxes, President Barack Obama says the only way to help save the struggling economy is to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put America back to work,” Obama said.
With the signing of the bill, there will automatically be a $900 billion increase in borrowing authority and cut the deficit by $917 billion over 10 years.
“For months I have said that both parties need to come together to do what is right for America — avoid a devastating default while reducing the deficit in a way that preserves essential investments for the middle class,” said Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), who voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling.
“This bill does provide us with a step forward in putting our fiscal house in order,” he said.
But not everyone voted in favor of increasing the debt ceiling. Some think the legislation is actually detrimental to the future of the country.
“While I give my Republican leadership all the credit in the world, I cannot support this latest deal,” said Cong. Joe Walsh (R-8th). “It spends too much and cuts too little.
“While this deal will cut $2.4 trillion from the national debt over the next 10 years, Washington will still add another $7 trillion to the national debt over that same period.”
Walsh said the bill is “blatantly political” because of its proximity to an election year.
“We need to be slashing reckless spending now and in the future, not just when it is politically convenient for the president,” Walsh said.
Cong. Judy Biggert (R-13th) said the signing of the bill will help build a stronger economy.
“By placing real controls on the debt, we can restore confidence in the economy and generate job growth,” Biggert said.
If the debt ceiling was not increased, there was a chance that many government agencies risked closing their doors to the public.
This could have affected many senior organizations, possibly delayed Social Security checks to seniors and could have affected many government-funded medical clinics.
National parks could have been forced to close their tours, as would be true of tours at many national monuments.
With the new deal, spending cuts will not affect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Other local politicians who voted in favor of the new bill were Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-4th), Bobby Rush (D-1st) and Danny Davis (D-7th).
Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) cast “no” votes.
The final vote in the Senate was 74-26 and 269-161 in the House.