Today, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) will announce new legislation to eliminate the federal debt ceiling, a law they view as unnecessary and increasingly an impediment to Congress’s ability to further economic recovery. Only a year-and-a-half after the last disastrous debt ceiling debate, House Republican leaders plan to use the same political brinksmanship again this year in order to impose their extreme and economically regressive agenda on the American people. A repeal of the debt ceiling would allow Congress to move forward with legislation that actually promotes jobs, economic recovery and growth. A press conference will take place at 11:00am on Wednesday, January 16th, in Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2103, Washington, D.C.
The modern debt ceiling, set in 1939 based on amendments to the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917, consolidated federal debts in order to provide the U.S. Treasury more flexibility to reduce interest costs and minimize financial risks. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the House of Representatives, at times, used a mechanism, referred to as the Gephardt Rule, to automatically increase the debt ceiling to keep pace with annual congressional spending. In the last 10 years, Congress has voted to increase the debt ceiling 10 times. The 2011 debt ceiling face-off reflected a shift from 30 years of clean debt ceiling increases and resulted in Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the U.S. economy for the first time in history.