Debt Ceiling Suspension Angers Anti-Waste Groups

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 12:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The budget deal reached this week fails to impose a debt limit on the United States — it merely suspends the current limit without putting a new figure in place.
And that has anti-waste groups fuming as no one knows how much extra money will be borrowed between now and February 7, when a new figure will be imposed.
"Here's how it works," CNN reported Friday. "The deal effectively allows Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the country's legal obligations without regard to the debt limit. Then, on February 8, the debt limit will automatically reset to a higher level that reflects how much Treasury borrowed during that "suspension period."
CNN says the Bipartisan Policy Committee estimates the Treasury will borrow around $600 billion in the 16 weeks between now and the February deadline.
David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, says the deal is "further proof that Congress is taking a major step backward in fiscal responsibility.”
"A real dollar figure is a constant reminder to taxpayers and Congress that the country is broke," Williams told The Daily Caller. This was done to hide the real debt from taxpayers.”
Other critics such as the conservative Heritage Foundation complain that by suspending the debt ceiling, lawmakers can rack up more debt without voting for debt limit increases, applying a "smokescreen" to the problem.
On Thursday, Heritage Foundation legal fellow Andrew Kloster wrote on the organization's blog that suspending the debt limit is "fiscally irresponsible."
The Default Prevention Act doesn't just end with suspending the debt limit, but "continues with 10 pages of convoluted and pointless provisions related to a one-time 'disapproval' of the president’s certification" said Kloster.
"These provisions simply outline a process for the Senate and House to pass another bill — subject to the president’s veto — expressing their disapproval of the automatic suspension of the debt limit (which they have just passed)."
But lawmakers can always submit bills, and the provision in the bill passed Wednesday "simply gives politicians a mechanism for expressing their “disapproval” of the suspension, thereby giving them the ability to campaign next fall claiming that they voted against the debt limit increase."
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