A trio of House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill to eliminate the debt ceiling so that the Treasury Department would be able to borrow money without limit.
Rep. Jim Moran (D.-Va.), one of the co-sponsors of the proposal, said that imposing a legal limit on the national debt is a “danger” to the country.
“The debt limit is an unnecessary and counterproductive legislative hurdle that has proved to be both an ineffective means of controlling deficits and a danger to this country’s standing in the financial markets,” Moran said.
The debt limit “poses a serious, recurring threat to the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” Moran said. He called it a “legislative relic” that has been “weaponized” by Republicans for political reasons.
At a news conference introducing the bill, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), also a co-sponsor of the bill, said: “We’re here, ladies and gentlemen to abolish the debt ceiling.”
“This is a pretty simple issue, ladies and gentlemen,” Johson said. “There is no reason to have a debt ceiling at all. That’s why there is one other Western democracy with such a policy. You see, when Congress directs federal spending, it assumes responsibility for allowing the Treasury to what it needs to do to pay for it, period.”
Johnson said that last month’s political battle over increasing the debt limit “undermined the American people’s trust in its political leadership.” (Recent opinion polls give Congress an even lower favorability rating than President Obama.)
The Democrats’ bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House.
The debt limit, first established by Congress in 1917, is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the debt limit provides Congress with the strings to control the federal purse.
It also imposes fiscal accountability, compelling Congress and the president to take visible action (most recently, a very public battle) to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects.
Along with Rep. Moran and Rep. Johnson, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is also co-sponsoring the bill to abolish the debt limit.