August 02, 2011

Wyden Statement on Debt Ceiling Vote

Washington, D.C. – With the nation’s debt limit deadline approaching, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden issued the following statement announcing his support for the legislation to lift the debt ceiling:

“Today, Members of Congress have a choice: allow the United States to default on its financial obligations or vote for the deal on the table.  The full faith and credit of the United States is being held for ransom, and because I’m not willing to sacrifice the economic well-being of hundreds of millions of Americans, I will vote for the deal on the table.
This is not the deal that I would have constructed nor should it be held up as a shining example of bipartisanship.  Democrats and Republicans could have worked together on real reforms.  They could have put the country first and come up with constructive solutions to reduce the deficit, grow the economy and put Americans back to work.  They could have laid the groundwork for tax reform and made it possible for both parties to achieve long-sought victories.
Instead we are left to celebrate what this legislation doesn’t do. This bill doesn’t allow the United States to default on its financial obligations.  It doesn’t hold seniors hostage or put important safety net programs like food stamps, Medicaid and veterans benefits at risk.  Instead this deal protects seniors and ensures that our nation’s most vulnerable will stay protected as Congress continues to find ways to get our deficits and debt under control.  But we can’t afford to rest on those assurances.  We need to stay vigilant for the most vulnerable and we must find better ways to save money than cutting education, job training, infrastructure and research efforts that are essential to this country’s economic future.  Arbitrary cuts to these programs will harm our nation’s ability to compete at the individual, corporate and national level, for years to come.  That’s not good for the economy or the deficit.

The creation of a bipartisan Congressional Committee to tackle the deficit creates an opportunity to fix what this deal did and achieve what it didn’t.   It creates an opportunity for Congress to find savings elsewhere and restore those needed investments in our economy.  Reducing the deficit doesn’t have to be defined by slashing spending to achieve arbitrary goals.  This Committee can look for ways to save money by thinking more strategically and finding ways for current programs to operate more efficiently.  This committee can look for ways to grow the economy and put people back to work.  This Committee can tackle tax reform and give Americans something to show for the debate.
I will vote for this deal because I don’t believe that allowing the country to go into default is an option.  Putting an already struggling economy at even greater risk is not an acceptable choice.  But I believe that Congress can and should do better.  The only way we do better is to keep working for real solutions and real reforms, like tax reform.  And while such reforms may be hard to achieve, they are impossible to achieve if no one fights for them.  This is why I will keep putting ideas on the table and fighting for solutions that address the very real challenges facing Americans.”