Rep. Owens votes for debt ceiling increase; says more action is needed
North Country Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) says he supported the “No Budget, No Pay Act,” which passed on a vote 285 to 144, to avoid a default, but called on members of Congress to enact longer-term solutions.
The House of Representatives passed the bill, which would withhold lawmakers’ pay if they fail to approve a budget by April 15.In return it provides an additional four months to avoid a default on the national debt by temporarily lifting the cap on the “debt ceiling.”
“I supported today’s legislation because a default on the national debt would threaten America’s credit rating and the economic recovery,” said Owens.
“At the same time, Congress can’t keep kicking the can down the road. With sequestration on the horizon and an unacceptable level of federal debt, Congress needs to chart a path towards responsible federal spending cuts right away that will inject long-term certainty into the economy for the benefit of businesses and middle class workers,” Owens said.
The bill temporarily lifts the so-called debt ceiling, which governs how much the Treasury Department can borrow to meet federal obligations including military salaries, social security checks and similar payments. Under the bill, the government may borrow as much as is required to continue financing government operations through May 19.
In addition, the bill included language to withhold pay from Congress in the event that a budget is not passed by each house of Congress by April 15.