Senate Democrats

Reid: Senate Democratic Caucus Stands United Against Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Plan

In Letter, 51 Senate Democrats and Two Independents Pledge To Oppose House Speaker’s Plan Should It Advance To Senate

In Closed-Door Meeting Earlier Today, Boehner Told House GOP Caucus Senate Would “Fold” And Accede To His Debt Plan

Boehner Plan Not Only Puts America’s Credit Rating at Risk, But Would Empower House GOP To Hold Economy Hostage Again In 6  Months


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced late Wednesday that the entire Senate Democratic caucus has signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner stating they will vote against his short-term plan to raise the debt ceiling should it pass the House.

According to published reports, the Speaker, in an effort to quell a rebellion among conservatives in his caucus, pressed his case for House passage by predicting that the Senate would “fold like a cheap suit” and accept his plan.  The letter, signed by all 51 Senate Democrats and two independents, shows otherwise.

“We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill,” the Senators wrote  “We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why.”

The senators continued: “In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans.”

In the last two days, the Speaker’s plan to raise the debt ceiling has faced mounting difficulty. Since Tuesday, the Speaker faced opposition from House conservatives who rejected the proposal in favor of the “Cup, Cap and Balance” plan.  Also, CNN has reported that S&P would likely downgrade America’s credit rating if the Boehner plan was signed into law.

Today, while hastily rewriting portions of the legislation, Speaker Boehner went before his caucus seeking to secure enough votes to pass the measure.  His claim that the Senate would simply pass whatever the House sent them was part of this final pitch. The Democratic caucus’ letter tonight officially disproves that claim.

The full text of the letter is below and available here as a PDF.

 

July 27, 2011

Speaker John Boehner
U.S. Capitol, H-232
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:

With five days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, we need to work together to ensure that our nation does not default on our obligations for the first time in our history. We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill.  We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why.

A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it.  Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months.  Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating.  If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit.  Even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide.

In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans.

We now have only five days left to act.  The entire world is watching Congress.  We need to do the right thing to solve this problem.  We must work together to avoid a default the responsible way – not in a way that will do America more harm than good.

Sincerely,

Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
John Kerry (D-Mass.)
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)
Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)
Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
Tom Carper (D-Del.)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Jim Webb (D-Va.)
Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
Mark Begich (D-Alaska)
Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Al Franken (D-Minn.)
Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Chris Coons (D-Del.)
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

 

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