Press release from Indivisible Asheville/WNC
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines to approve H.R. 2811, a bill that would approve adjusting the U.S. debt limit only on condition of extreme future budget cuts to critical services Americans depend on. Congressman Chuck Edwards, representing North Carolina’s 11th District, voted for this bill.
On Friday morning a group of concerned citizens will gather in front of Rep. Edwards’s district office in Hendersonville to address this issue. The group will deliver signed postcards and petitions to the Congressman, urging him to increase the debt ceiling without holding America hostage to other demands.
WHAT: “Quit Holding America Hostage!”
WHEN: Friday, May 26, 2023 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: Henderson County Courthouse, 200 N. Grove St., Hendersonville, NC
WHO: Indivisible Asheville/WNC
Why are we in this position?
The U.S. debt limit must be adjusted periodically to allow the government to keep functioning and cover obligations already authorized by Congress. Congress has adjusted the debt ceiling 78 times since 1960, including three times during the Trump administration. No budget demands were proposed then.
If, for the first time in history, Congress refuses to adjust the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury would default on its legal obligations. Economists agree a default would throw the country into a recession and send the global economy into a financial crisis.
What do the proposed cuts include?
Under the blanket cuts in services included in H.R 2811, experts estimate that the FAA would have to close 125 air traffic control towers; food assistance for 1.2 million poor Americans with young children would be eliminated; two million families would lose access to medical care; cuts to Head Start would cut out 200,000 children; Social Security claims processing would slow down by months; the FBI would have to cut 11,000 employees; the IRS could lose millions in uncollected taxes; and more.
“This is a made-up crisis with with real-world consequences,” said Indivisible Asheville/WNC President Robin Lively Summers. “By making reckless demands in exchange for doing their job and avoiding default, MAGA Republicans in Congress are simply holding America hostage. We’re appalled that Congressman Edwards is going along with this. The people of Western North Carolina deserve better.”
Indivisible Asheville/WNC is a nonprofit, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to protecting democracy through informed community action in Western North Carolina. To learn more, visit IndivisibleAVL.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The federal deficit is the gap between what the government takes in (mainly through taxes) and what it spends (as appropriated by Congress and approved by the President). Cuts in revenue and increases in spending both contribute to the national debt. The federal debt is the running total of how much the government owes.
The national debt has increased under budgets led by both Republicans and Democrats, although Republicans have contributed more. Every year that the government operates at a deficit, the debt increases.
The debt ceiling is the legal limit on how much debt the government is allowed to build up. It is not a limit on how much the government can spend.
If the national debt hits the debt ceiling, the government would enter default and be unable to pay its bills. The United States has never before defaulted on its obligations.
Economists agree that a default would have catastrophic consequences on both the domestic and global economy, likely leading to a market crash or even a recession. When Tea Party Republicans threatened default in 2011, the United States’ credit was downgraded for the first time in history. Even though they pulled back from the brink and averted default right before the deadline, the credit downgrade caused a market crash with global repercussions.
Congress has always raised the debt ceiling when the national debt approached the limit, and, until recently, has done so on a bipartisan basis.
Since 1960, Congress has raised the debt limit 78 times – 49 times under Republican presidents.
During the Trump administration, Congress raised the debt ceiling three times in four years – without cuts, without protests, and without any budget demands.
“Debt Limit,” U.S. Department of the Treasury https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-markets-financial-institutions-and-fiscal-service/debt-limit
“Edwards votes to address debt, rein in federal spending,” press release issued 04/26/23
“STATE FACT SHEETS: MAGA Republicans’ Default on America Act Would Have Devastating Impacts Across America,” White House Briefing Room, released 05/02/23 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/05/02/state-fact-sheets-maga-house-republicans-default-on-america-act-would-have-devastating-impacts-across-america
“What Would the G.O.P. Plan Actually Do To the Budget?” Published 05/08/23 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/05/08/upshot/federal-budget-republicans.html
“Raise the debt ceiling. Then fix our democracy.” The Brennan Center, published 01/27/23 (updated 03/1/23) https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/raise-debt-ceiling-then-fix-our-democracy
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