Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer
With our national debt above $30 trillion and rising, I ran for Congress on a promise to restore fiscal responsibility by reining in deficit spending. Despite having the largest economy in the world, the United States has more debt than any other nation. Our national debt is set to surpass its World War II peak in the next ten years, currently at over $180,000 per household.
Simply put, the path we’re on is not sustainable, and we cannot saddle our children with tomorrow’s bill for today’s out-of-control spending decisions. We also cannot default on our debt, which would have a devastating impact on our economy and severely weaken our position on the world stage.
It’s very important that people fully understand the ramifications of defaulting on our debt, because the consequences would be severe. Right away, Americans could expect to see the stock market nosedive, causing widespread panic throughout the global financial system. Investors would lose confidence, interest rates would skyrocket, unemployment would rise, and economic growth would slow to a crawl. Additionally, defaulting would immediately require significant cuts to government spending – putting Social Security, Medicare, veterans, and service members at risk. Before long, defaulting on our debt would drive our country, and potentially the world, into a recession.
In addition, failing to reduce the deficit, and therefore the national debt, and engaging in further reckless spending would be completely irresponsible. Unless we contain the runaway spending, we will be pawning this growing problem off on our children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren. Excessive spending also has an adverse impact on every Americans’ pocketbook. Inflation started ticking up after Congress passed a massive $1.9 trillion spending bill in early 2021. Even as prices continued to increase over the past two years, Congress spent trillions more of your tax dollars – leading to inflation hitting levels not seen in four decades.
By putting forward the Limit, Save, Grow Act, the House has demonstrated proactive leadership by working to protect millions of seniors, veterans, businesses, and hardworking families across the board who would be harmed by a catastrophic debt default.
In addition to saving nearly $5 trillion over the next ten years – starting with using the same spending levels the federal government operated under just four months ago – the Limit, Save, Grow Act will ensure the U.S. avoids defaulting by lifting the debt ceiling through March 31, 2024 or by $1.5 trillion, whichever occurs sooner. It also contains legislation that has already passed the House, including a proposal that would help lower energy costs and support good-paying union jobs.
In response, we have been met with nothing but attacks or silence from the majority in the Senate and from the White House. Unfortunately, we have also continued to hear false attacks meant to scare seniors about future access to Social Security and Medicare, which I will always protect. The same holds true for veterans – despite false accusations, my colleagues and I will make sure our veterans and service members are taken care of in the upcoming appropriations process. Any claims to the contrary are disingenuous political attacks.
To be clear, this proposal isn’t perfect. However, we had to start somewhere – and with time quickly running out, the House has chosen to be proactive. I hope my colleagues across the aisle will come to the table immediately so we can begin bipartisan discussions instead of sitting idly by and using this proposal as a political weapon. The ball is in their court. We have acted to raise the debt ceiling while saving taxpayer dollars because it’s the right and responsible thing to do for Oregonians and all Americans.
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a business owner and former Happy Valley mayor, represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.