WASHINGTON — Republican US congressman Dave Camp introduced legislation Tuesday to raise the US debt ceiling but he plans to vote against it because he also wants the bill to include drastic budget cuts.
“Let me be clear: I do not support and will not vote for a debt limit increase that does not contain significant spending cuts and budgetary reforms. Our current path is unsustainable and unacceptable,” said Camp, of Michigan.
“We must force Washington to live within its means, and any deal on the debt limit should include real reforms including entitlement programs like Medicare.”
“The legislation I filed today will allow the House to reject a clean increase in the debt limit proving to the American people, the financial markets and the Administration that we (Republicans) are serious about tackling our debt and deficit problems,” Camp told lawmakers.
Camp’s stand echoes what his party colleagues have been saying for some weeks: that the debt ceiling should not be raised unless it comes with major spending cuts.
Republicans want to hold a “test vote” to highlight the House’s support for raising the debt ceiling without making major spending cuts.
Democrats reject the Republican viewpoint and their calls for slashing Medicare, health insurance for the elderly. Negotiations on the issue have broken down.
“The bill introduced today is a dangerous political stunt,” said Sander Levin, the highest ranking Democrat on the committee led by Camp.
“Brinkmanship with our economy and our nation’s obligations is highly irresponsible,” Levni argued. “We should set a framework for immediate and long-term deficit reduction, but not by ending Medicare and doubling seniors? health care costs, as Republicans have advocated.
“And not by threatening a default that numerous economists and CEOs have warned would have calamitous consequences and jeopardize our economic recovery,” Levin added.
The current debt ceiling set by Congress is 14.294 trillion dollars.