Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Debt Clock

We Must Increase the Statutory Debt Limit and Take Action to Deal with the Debt

Aug 2, 2017 | Budget Process

For Immediate Release

The United States government is quickly approaching the deadline for raising the debt ceiling. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, released the following statement:

The United States faces two major debt challenges: one urgent and acute, the other gradual and long-term but still pernicious. Without a prompt increase in the debt limit, policymakers would threaten default on America’s obligations and could even spark a global economic crisis. At the same time, the national debt is currently higher as a share of the economy than at any time since just after World War II, and it is rising unsustainably.
 
We need to increase the statutory debt limit as soon as possible. We should have done so already to avoid creating undue and potentially costly uncertainty, and we most certainly should not wait until the last moment to make this necessary increase. No Member of Congress should even consider holding this must-pass legislation hostage.
 
At the same time, it is important to recognize that the near-record national debt is on an unsustainable path and changes need to be made. Given that the debt ceiling is one of the few reminders of this fiscal reality, it would be prudent for policymakers to attach or simultaneously pass measures to help slow the growth of our national debt. In the past, some debt ceiling increases have been productively paired with deficit-reduction policies or processes.
 
While first and foremost we encourage policymakers to pass the needed increase immediately, we also support their using this opportunity to take long-overdue action to deal with the debt. When your credit card bill arrives, you pay it. But if it’s too high, you may also need to adjust your borrowing habits going forward.

For more information, read our piece Q&A: Everything You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling.

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For more information contact Patrick Newton, Press Secretary, at newton@crfb.org.