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Langevin, Whitehouse Warn Against ‘Dangerous’ Fiscal Cliff ‘Game’

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

 

Ever since a last-minute deal was reached at the last-possible second that temporarily avoided the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ and staved off tax increases for the majority of Americans, politicians across Washington have been quick to express their disappointment with the way the negotiations panned out.

More importantly, however, they’ve been quick to warn that Congress can’t survive such gridlock when it comes time to discuss the debt limit.

Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation is no different.

In statements issued last week, Representative Jim Langevin and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse made their positions on the “debt ceiling” clear.

Both felt their Republican counterparts in the nation’s capital were playing a risky political game by refusing to negotiate in good faith.

"Republican leaders are playing a dangerous game by holding the debt ceiling hostage to demand cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” Whitehouse said. “The debt limit only authorizes the Treasury to borrow the funds needed to finance the spending Congress has already passed into law. To default on our financial obligations, for the first time in history, could send our economy back into recession. That is unthinkable with so many Rhode Islanders still out of work.”

Whitehouse said the negotiations are taking away from the true priorities of Congress.

“I hope Republican leaders will stop threatening to, as they say, ‘shoot the hostage’, and will instead work with us to raise the debt ceiling and move on to what is most important: growing our economy and creating jobs," he said.

Langevin agreed, saying the country must get its “fiscal house in order.”

“Raising the debt ceiling is not an option, but a necessity to honor the debts we’ve already incurred,” he said. “America pays its bills, and we saw the negative impact on the economy as a result of the last political that threatened a U.S. default.”

Langevin believes the country needs a “balanced approach” to address its debt in the next budget and can’t simply refuse to pay for “spending decisions already agreed upon Congress over many years.”

“I thank President Obama for saying he will not refight the last debt ceiling debacle that held the world economy hostage to extreme demands,” Langevin said. “We must use the fiscal cliff deal as a springboard toward negotiating in good faith on the next budget deal. Our challenges are eminently solvable if the uncompromising minority on the far right is no longer given the power to block bipartisan solutions.”
 

 

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