Senate Democrats

Reid Remarks On The Consequences Of Default

“Four days remain until a few extremist Republicans too radical to compromise could force a default on the nation’s financial obligations.” 

“Defaulting on our debt would risk millions of American jobs… Without exception, the most respected economists and business minds of our time have said that if America defaults on its debt there will be dire consequences here and around the globe.” 

“The Senate Democratic position has been and remains this: reopen the government and pay the country’s bills, so we can move forward with good-faith negotiations on a long-term budget.” 

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the importance of passing a clean, long-term debt ceiling increase.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Four days remain until a few extremist Republicans too radical to compromise could force a default on the nation’s financial obligations. Economists say it won’t be long before financial markets react negatively to this continued uncertainty.

But a bad day on Wall Street doesn’t just affect big investment banks or wealthy investors. All around the country, ordinary Americans with 401k’s and college savings accounts will lose money if the uncertainty persists. The life savings of ordinary Americans are at risk. And while this uncertainty is bad, default would be unthinkably worse.

The last time this country was plunged into a major recession – five short years ago – Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their savings. And so did people across the globe. This country is only beginning to recover, and the world with us. But the crisis we face now is one of even greater proportion.

Defaulting on our debt would risk millions of American jobs. It could halt Social Security checks, Medicare payments and even paychecks for our troops.  Without exception, the most respected economists and business minds of our time have said that if America defaults on its debt there will be dire consequences here and around the globe.

So I am pleased Republican leaders are finally engaging in talks with President Obama. Reasonable Republicans realize time is running out. They have urged their more radical colleagues to compromise. For example, my friend, the senior Senator from Arizona, offered these sensible words on Tuesday: “Sooner or later, the government will resume its function. Sooner or later we will raise the debt limit. The question is how we get there… Why don’t we do this sooner rather than later? Why doesn’t the Senate lead?”

To that end, the Senate will vote this afternoon on a long-term measure to avert default and give the economy the certainty it needs. This measure will ensure the United States government lives up to its obligations through the end of next year.

The economy needs more stability than the short-term House Republican proposal would provide. Congress and the country must not be back in this position six weeks from now, worrying whether Republicans will force our nation to default on its financial obligations.

The Senate Democratic position has been and remains this: reopen the government and pay the country’s bills, so we can move forward with good-faith negotiations on a long-term budget. Although time is running out, it is not too late for my Republican colleagues to do the right thing for the country and the economy.

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