From the office of (Debt Ceiling Dick) Congressman Todd Akin to @LatinaRose1



Dear Donna:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the debt ceiling. I appreciate the opportunity to share my position with you.

Earlier this year, President Obama asked Congress to raise the debt limit, as the nation’s debt was approaching the legal limit of $14.3 trillion.  Since the President entered the White House the federal debt has increased by $3.7 trillion, and Obama asked that he be allowed to increase our federal debt by another $2.4 trillion by the end of his current term in office. This would total over $6 trillion in new debt in one term as President. The call to raise the debt ceiling is an obvious indicator of our national spending addiction. It is also a warning that our national credit card bill is coming due.

Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, two major credit rating agencies, recently warned that the United States is facing a down-graded credit rating if we do not get our national debt under control. A lowered credit rating would make borrowing more expensive and reduce tax dollars available for other priorities. Some economic analysts warn that the United States is in worse trouble than Europe if we do not decrease our level of borrowing.

Last year, I introduced legislation to make it more difficult to increase the debt ceiling by requiring a three-fifths majority vote. This year, I introduced the Spending Priorities Act, a failsafe spending plan to manage federal spending if the United States Government reaches the statutory debt limit or experiences a funding gap. Such legislation is prudent but it is not sufficient.

We must end our nation’s addiction to spending. At the current pace, our national debt will exceed the size of our economy in two years. Within three years, the interest on our debt will cost our country $1 billion each day. As Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last year, “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”

I firmly believe that any debt ceiling increase must be accompanied by real cuts in current spending as well as long-term budget reforms. We must show our creditors and the entire world that we recognize the severity of our current economic situation and that we will control our debt before it controls us.

I believe that we should also pass a Constitutional amendment to cap the size of the federal government and tie it to a percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP). We cannot afford the amount of federal government we have today, but there are those who continue to advocate for even more federal borrowing and spending. A cap on the size of government would prevent the radical growth in government that we have seen in recent years.

Americans know that the credit card bill eventually comes due. When I talk to people in Missouri, the message is crystal clear – change “business as usual” in Washington and stop the overspending.

Providing for the common defense is also one of the most important roles of the federal government, and is clearly required by the Constitution. At a time when we still have thousands of our men and women in the line of fire, dramatic defense cuts are simply unacceptable.  In the worst case scenario, this debt ceiling bill could result in roughly $1 trillion in cuts to the military. Almost half of the debt ceiling increase may come at the expense of our national defense.

While Speaker Boehner and others negotiated in good faith, I was concerned that the proposal (S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011) might actually make it less likely that we could address the central problem of radical deficit spending.  While the new proposal has a balanced budget amendment as one option for a future debt ceiling increase, I am skeptical that the President or Democrats in Congress will be willing to support a balanced budget amendment while there are other paths available to allow for continued deficit spending.

While some argue that a balanced budget amendment is unachievable with the current political landscape in Washington, our nation needs a balanced budget amendment now more than ever. We have had problems with deficit spending for much of our history, but we are approaching the point of no return.  A balanced budget amendment would force us back on a responsible path. If not now, when? If not us, who?

The Budget Control Act of 2011 passed the House of Representatives on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269-161. This legislation makes no cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance or civilian and military retirement.  With respect to Medicare, if the Joint Select Committee established under this legislation fails to produce a savings of $1.2 trillion for deficit reduction, the difference is made up by sequestration. This means that Congress must find savings evenly between defense and non-defense spending including Medicare. However, the cuts applicable to Medicare are capped at 2 percent of the program.  I believe this legislation fails to address the problem at hand, and it threatens to severely degrade our national defense with a possible trillion dollars in cuts to our military. For these reasons, I opposed this bill. This legislation was passed by the Senate by a vote of 74-26 on August 2, 2011. Following final passage in the Senate, President Obama signed this into law on August 2, 2011.

It is a privilege to represent you and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me regarding any matter where I might be of assistance. Please visit my website, where you can find more information on current issues, share further thoughts with me via email and subscribe to my e-newsletter for updates on issues you care about.


Todd Akin
Member of Congress

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