WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 -- Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas (5th CD), issued the following news release:
U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement after voting against an unconditional increase in the debt ceiling:
"To raise or not to raise is not the question of the debt ceiling debate. The real question is whether or not we will heed the warning that reaching the debt ceiling provides and use this speed bump on the road to national bankruptcy as an opportunity to deal with the root cause of our debt crisis: out of control spending. By passing the unconditional increase in the debt ceiling that the president demanded, the answer to this question sadly appears to be no.
"Despite the claims by President Obama and Washington Democrats, today's vote is not about preventing a sovereign default. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that a default on our sovereign debt is unacceptable, unthinkable, and unfathomable. Fortunately, it is also completely avoidable.
Even without raising the debt ceiling, the administration has at its disposal the financial, logistical, and legal tools to ensure we do not default. It takes only eight cents of every revenue dollar to pay the net interest on our debt - even after it's ballooned under this president. In the absence of raising the debt ceiling, to prevent a sovereign default, Treasury could prioritize payments to bondholders over other budget items - something the Government Accountability Office has long-said the administration has the legal authority to do. However, to remove any doubt, House Republicans passed the Full Faith and Credit Act (H.R. 807) to give the administration the explicit statutory authority to prioritize payment on our nation's sovereign debt. Tragically, Senate Democrats refuse to bring this legislation up for a vote and President Obama even threatened to veto it.
"After having served on the House Budget Committee, the Simpson-Bowles Commission, and the so-called Super Committee, my laptop's memory is full of reports and testimony - like the recent report from the Congressional Budget Office - attesting to the fact that our nation is on an unsustainable spending path. Yet the refrain from too many in Washington and on Wall Street continues to be 'we'll deal with it later.'
"Today, our nation's gross national debt stands at a staggering $17.2 trillion - which is more than $140,000 per American household. Since President Obama took office, our debt has increased by over $6 trillion, which is almost $50,000 per American household. Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said our debt is 'the biggest threat to our national security.' Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chairman of the president's own Fiscal Commission, said 'this debt is like a cancer' that will 'destroy this country from within.' Later is no longer an option."
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