Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy In Support Of The Agreement To End The Debt Ceiling Crisis

This is not a solution I would have preferred, but the compromise finally reached by the White House and congressional leaders has the potential to end this manufactured crisis.  It is a solution that puts common sense and the national interest above partisanship and ideology.

The country has been brought to the brink of catastrophe.  The choice at hand is not this bill or something better.  The choice is between the only bipartisan practical solution to the debt ceiling crisis, or a devastating default on the nation’s debts for the first time in our history.  A default would send shock waves throughout our fragile economy. It would slap a credit rate tax on every household and every business in Vermont and across the country.

Just as Vermont families are having to make difficult financial decisions, we need to make long-term budget reforms, and the country should be spared the ordeal of having to go through this same kind of torment again just a few months from now.

The Special Congressional Committee chartered by this legislation to recommend future deficit reduction can consider revenue measures, and I will continue to push for an end to outdated tax loopholes for giant oil firms and companies that ship American jobs overseas.  I also continue to believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay their fair share in these solutions.

If the Special Congressional Committee fails to make bipartisan recommendations, then the agreement calls for cuts in defense spending and protections for Social Security, Medicare benefits, Medicaid, veterans benefits and child nutrition.  I strongly support these protections.

The Senate throughout history has shown its remarkable ability to rise up in times of crisis to reflect the conscience of the Nation.  Now is such a time, for the good of the country, for Democrats and Republicans in both chambers to rise to the occasion and put an end to this contrived crisis that has put our entire economy at risk.

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