WASHINGTON – Chautauqua County’s congressman has no regrets about voting against extending the federal debt ceiling during a vote last week in Washington.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) was among an estimated 200 house members who voted against the extension, which allows the U.S. to continue to borrow money to pay off its debts.
During a media conference call on Monday, Reed said the extension shows that Congress has failed to hold the line on the national debt and in turn, the interest payment on the debt is set to quadruple within the decade.
Reed highlighted a recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projecting the interest payment on the national debt will nearly quadruple in the next ten years – to $880 billion by 2024. In comparison, Reed said that the country spent about $670 billion on defense in 2012 and roughly $768 billion on all of Social Security in the same year.
“So you are talking in about having to make a debt payment of $880 billion. In relationship, look at what we’re spending in all for Social Security and look at what we’re spending for defense. That is why this debt has to be taken into consideration and we have to address it today, sooner rather than later,” Reed said.
He also said that if the country continues to go further into debt, it will prohibit private businesses from wanting to set up shop in the U.S.
“Think about the small business owner. Think about a large business, deciding to put a manufacturing facility in America,” Reed said. “If they don’t see a plan out of Washington to get this debt under control, don’t you think they’ll be concerned about making a long term investment that’s going to build that plant on American soil because we don’t have our fiscal house in order in Washington? Who’s going to get left holding the bag? Hard working taxpayers.”
Prior to last week’s debt ceiling vote, Reed said he would be part of even “baby steps” toward reducing Washington spending and the debt. He added he went to Washington to change the status quo and get the debt under control and that a bill that fails to make any progress is a non-deal for him.
Just 28 House Republicans voted in favor of extending the debt ceiling, despite it being supported by House speaker John Boehner. The final vote was 221 members for, and 201 members against.