The Pryor Times

October 15, 2013

Inhofe talks about raising debt ceiling

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe

PRYOR, OK — WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statement after the Senate voted on S.1569, a bill that would raise the debt ceiling until December. The cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill failed by 53-45.

“Our national debt is nearly $17 trillion and has nearly doubled since the beginning of the Obama Administration.  If we allow the nation to continue on its current path, it will only lead to economic destruction.  Raising the debt ceiling without any common-sense solutions to reign in the federal government would be irresponsible and reckless, which is why I would have voted no on S.1569.

“The President has already increased the debt limit five times since coming to office.  The first occurred in order to help pay for his massive, unsuccessful $789 billion stimulus package.  With supermajorities in the House and the Senate, the President was able to fill the law with nearly every pet project he desired.

“As the stimulus package went into effect, we learned its cost was under-estimated, and just ten months later we had to raise the debt ceiling again. Just two months after that, the President pushed another increase through, this time for $1.9 trillion.  Within 13 months into his first term, President Obama had already increased the debt limit by nearly $3 trillion.

“Following the 2010 mid-term elections, Republicans in Congress welcomed reinforcements, enforced fiscal accountability, and changed the dynamic.  With control of the House and an increased margin in the Senate, Republicans were able to force spending cut concessions from the President before agreeing to any debt limit increase.

“In August 2010, under the new Congress and new leadership, the President agreed to $2.1 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for his request to increase the debt limit by $2.1 trillion. These cuts were what became known as ‘sequestration.’  While I supported the total reduction in spending enacted by the bill, I voted against it because I believe the cuts should have been allocated in a way that responsibly prioritized lower priority programs first for spending reductions. My greatest concern was that sequestration took 50 percent of the cuts to defense, yet defense comprises only 18 of our federal spending. In total, nearly $500 billion was cut from funds used to secure our nation  - this in addition to the nearly $500 billion the President had already previously cut, leading us down a path to a hollow military and compromised national security. Further, these cuts did not include anything to reform mandatory entitlement programs, like food stamps, and too little of it came from other domestic programs that are better suited for the states to manage.

“Earlier this year, the President demanded his fifth debt limit increase.  He received it, but only after conceding to an agreement that required Senate Democrats to consider a budget and suspended Congressional pay until such budget passed.  I opposed the deal to raise the debt ceiling because I knew simply passing a budget would not result in necessary spending reforms to address our fiscal crisis. While it did result in the Senate passing a budget for the first time during the Obama Administration, it was rot with tax hikes and more big government spending, and ultimately failed in the House. Today, our country is still operating on short-term funding measures, and now we find ourselves with the President's sixth request to raise the debt ceiling.

“My position on the debt ceiling has not changed. Federal spending is continuing to spiral out of control, and if we do nothing to reign it in, our national debt will skyrocket to $25 trillion in the next decade.  Even the President agrees with those numbers.  We cannot allow this to happen, which is why I oppose S. 1569.”