Welch drums up support for raising debt ceiling

Rep. Peter Welch gathered up 186 signatures from his fellow Democrats in the House in a public showing of support for President Barack Obama, ahead of Congress’ debate over the debt ceiling.

Welch held a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, along with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, to unveil their letter to Obama.

It states: “We appreciate your strong leadership on this issue and share your view that defaulting on our obligations would cause immediate and irreparable harm to America’s economy. We will support a clean extension of the debt ceiling when the House takes up this issue.”

Welch organized a similar letter in 2011, when Congress was embroiled in the same situation.

In Vermont, meanwhile, the Republican and Democratic parties are trading spars in defense of their national counterparts and their roles in the slightly more imminent threat of a government shutdown.

To avoid a shutdown, the Senate and House have to agree on a budget bill. The House passed a bill that would temporarily maintain government funding, but it also cuts funding for the Affordable Care Act. The Senate, which voted to take up the bill today, is expected to strip out that proposal.

Beyond the threat of a shutdown, Republicans have also sought to tie an increase in the debt ceiling — a necessary step in order to avoid a default — to entitlement cuts and an Obamacare rollback.

Deborah Bucknam, the acting chair of the Vermont Republican Party, told Vermont Public Radio’s Bob Kinzel Tuesday, that Democrats were to blame for the looming government shutdown.

“The majority of the American people are not in favor of Obamacare so the Republicans are on the American people’s side. And the Democrats are saying we’re not going to even talk to you. So I think that’s a problem,” Bucknam told Kinzel. “I think it’s the Democrats who are by saying we will not compromise are the ones that are pushing this toward a government shutdown. They’re the ones who are saying it’s all or nothing. So it certainly is their responsibility.”

Those comments prompted a rebuttal from the Vermont Democratic Party Wednesday. Executive director Julia Barnes released the following statement, and described Bucknam’s comments as “outrageous.”

“Republicans have set this country on the path to a costly government shutdown, holding imperative programs hostage in a last-ditch effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, something they have repeatedly failed at,” said Barnes. “The GOP’s unpopular and misguided stance could cost us billions, delay compensation for our troops, prevent Social Security claims from being processed, and suspend the approval of applications for small business loans. This is the last thing we need in our recovering economy.”

“Even with the announcement today that under Obamacare premiums nationwide are expected to be around 16% lower than originally predicted, this worn-out Tea Party rhetoric continues. Bucknam is plain wrong in thinking that Americans stand with the GOP in defunding Obamacare. In fact, a majority oppose defunding, especially in the face of a government shutdown.”

Both parties have a strong incentive to deflect blame — a New York Times/CBS poll shows eight out of 10 Americans view using the threat of a government shutdown for political means as unacceptable

Alicia Freese


  1. Linda Quackenbush :

    How do you raise a “debt ceiling” and “monetize debt”? You don’t… Our government is operating on smoke & mirrors! The US Free Market system can’t sustain this enormous federal debt of spending funny money! Shame on Welch for perpetuating VooDooDebt…

  2. Lee Russ :

    Deborah Bucknam needs a conscience check. The healthcare law has been duly passed by people duly elected to pass laws. The health care act is the law now and ideological zealots threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get their way are clearly the “cause” of the problem.

    And I mean C L E A R L Y.

    • Keith Stern :

      Pay attention to the impending disaster heading our way Lee. They believe that the 40 hour work week will be the exception, not the norm. So that means more people living below the poverty line on government assistance.
      Why do you think that many liberal leaders including Ralph Nader is saying they have to scrap it?
      We have an economy that is teetering on the edge, propped up by the Fed pouring money into the economy. You know the disaster that can cause?
      The Republicans have proposed a bill to lower healthcare costs without destroying the economy. The Democrats won’t listen, they will let their ideology destroy our country from within.
      Who needs a conscience check?

      • Linda Quackenbush :

        Derivatives are the Federal Reserve Norm! CBOE has $450 Trillion in traded derivatives! Every day 95% of trades are done electronically. WOW!! It’s no wonder Obama wants CONTROL of the internet with NSA, Prism, Bonesaw

      • Lee Russ :

        Keith, you have a right to oppose the new healthcare law. The Republicans in congress have a right to oppose the healthcare law.

        That doesn’t change the fact that the “looming government shutdown” Bucknam referenced is C L E A R L Y being caused by the Republicans in congress. Your list of concerns about the healthcare law is simply the reason they are causing it; it doesn’t change the cause.

        • Tony Elliot :

          The partisan bickering continues. The people subjected to the new health care law can decide for themselves.

          What we really need in Washington is compromise, and neither side seems willing.
          Perhaps a one year delay in “ObamaCare” to iron out some of the kinks would be a good compromise, instead of an all or nothing. This healthcare law has problems that need fixing.

          Lee, I thought of the following linked article when I read your post with “clearly” in caps – no offense intended. It was so ironic that I had just read that satire before reading your post.

          • Linda Quackenbush :

            The same people who raided personal information emails, phone records etc. are going to to be in charge of your PERSONAL medical records! Yikes… Next the government will raid your pension funds…

        • Keith Stern :

          Because the Republicans want to protect our children from even more massive debt makes them wrong? Greece, Spain, California, and Detroit to name just a few are CLEAR examples of what can happen with no fiscal restraint or competence. For every action there is a consequence but the Democrats don’t want to accept that.

          • Eric Mills :

            Republicans could not care less about anyone’s children.

            They fight tooth and nail against a law that will bring affordable healthcare to millions, refusing to expand medicaid despite the fact that they know full well this means fewer children with access to healthcare.

            And California is the wealthiest state in the nation, which just produced a balanced budget even as right wingers like you shrieked it would fall to ruin.

      • Eric Mills :

        “Why do you think that many liberal leaders including Ralph Nader is saying they have to scrap it?”

        Ralph Nader supports medicare for all, an even further to the left program than the one you oppose.

        He opposes the ACA because it is not sufficiently far left.

        “The Republicans have proposed a bill to lower healthcare costs without destroying the economy.”

        No they have not.

        Actual analysis of their plan shows it is not, in any sane sense of the word, an alternative plan. At least in the sense that it will have the same benefits to the American people.


        And finally, a President is not going to scrap his signature piece of legislation immediately after winning re-election because a bunch of right wing extremists have declared they will bring the nation to ruin if their demands are not met.

        As I see from your other posts, you are letting your personal beliefs come before the facts.

        The only one in need of a conscience check is you.

    • Lee Russ :

      That’s simply absurd. At no point do I even mention whether the healthcare law is popular or unpopular. So I’d have to say that you C L E A R L Y misread those posts.

      The fact is that the law’s popularity or unpopularity have absolutely nothing to do with whether the Republicans are causing the “LOOMING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN.”

  3. Keith Stern :

    Peter Welch and his cohorts say let the printing presses run. We’ll be retired before the collapse happens and, hey, our families will be all set.
    I just hope the Republicans have the guts to draw the line in the sand and stand for our children’s future than do what’s best to get reelected.

    • John Greenberg :

      “Peter Welch and his cohorts say let the printing presses run.”

      Actually, that isn’t the issue at all.

      The issue is whether to allow the government to pay the debts it has ALREADY incurred, not whether to “print money” to pay for new spending. Peter Welch may or may not have voted for the spending bills in question, but clearly a majority of the Republican House DID, or they would never have passed in the first place.

  4. Where were the Republicans when during the Bush years we had 2 unpaid for wars along with tax breaks that benefited mostly the wealthy, increased deficits upon deficits year after year, and a financial crisis that almost destroyed the economy and cost millions their jobs and with it decreased tax revenues that all lead to where we are now?
    Concerning the A.C.A. the main reason they(GOP) oppose it is they haven’t come to grips that Obama defeated their guys not once but twice. As long as the neo- cons GOP continue to act as the are, the party will continue to increase it’s minority status. If Stafford, Akin et al were around today, they would have quit the party by now.

  5. I forgot to add the TARP bailout of AIG, the Big Banks etc. all under the Bush watch…one can only imagine the GOP reaction if Obama was in office.

  6. Tom Haviland :

    I consider this brinkmanship a violation of the oath of office on the part of those who support a default. The 14th amendment to the US constitution clearly states that our debt is not to be questioned.

    To me that says it is unconstitutional to allow a default.

    Many of those in favor of a default argue that their constituents are saying to do this. I say your oath was not to your constituents but to the Constitution. Sure, you may lost your job, but consider those in the military that are expected to (if necessary) give up their lives rather than violate their oath.

    Your job is not as important as the Constitution.

    • Keith Stern :

      What do you think has led us to a $17 trillion debt? The debt is not sustainable. Do you realize at all how much good the money that is financing the debt could do to build strong economies throughout the world?
      Every year over $600 million dollars in revenue is wasted in paying interest on the debt. That’s money that can’t be used toward housing, food, and fuel assistance.
      There will never be a default until the point is reached that the US government can no longer borrow more money and printing more will cause hyperinflation where the dollar bill can be used for animal bedding.

      • Linda Quackenbush :

        The US government’s main objective is to create massive chaos among America’s largest class~Middle Class Americans. Obamacare is Cloward & Pivan! The only people who benefit from this legislation is the very Rich and the very poor. Once again the US government shrieks its responsibility by passing a massive bill that does absolutely NOTHING for the CARE of HEALTH and its people! I can’t think of a single piece of legislation that has passed that is solvent. Once again government has shifted the financial burden of this massive bill to Middle Class America…Shameful

      • Lee Russ :

        I’m all for lowering the deficit in reasonable ways. The question is “what methods of reducing the deficit are reasonable?”

        As I stated in a comment further down this string, federal revenue as a percentage of GDP is pretty low compared to the recent past. Raising that ratio would certainly help.

        And, of course, if you’re going to cut the budget, what should be cut? Rarely do I hear people upset at the deficit seriously talking about military spending.

        Military spending as a % of GDP in the US for 2008 thru 2012: 4.4,4.8, 4.8,4.7,4.4

        The only countries listed as paying a similar or higher percentage are South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Russia Oman, Jordan, Israel, Azerbaijan, Algeria and Afghanistan. For 2012, China’s military budget was 2% of GDP.

        “Originally reported by The Economist, guided missiles technology is one of the most expensive sectors in smart weaponry. A single medium to long-range subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile costs roughly $1.5m, and 50kg air-to-ground Hellfire rockets cost an eye-watering $115,000 each. Another member of the family, a shoulder-rocket called the Javelin — at $147,000 — can be used to kill individual soldiers that are hiding in bolt-holes. ”

        “America’s most advanced fighter [is] the F-22 Raptor….
        Robert Gates, America’s defence secretary, has ordered that production of the F-22 should end this year, capping the fleet at 187…These days Raptors go for $160m apiece ($350m including the cost of developing the jet), compared with $50m-60m for the venerable F-16.”

        That’s $30 billion dollars for 187 Raptors, and that doesn’t count the development costs. According to the economist, the cost per Raptor including development costs is $350 million, which raises the total cost of the Raptor development and production to 187 planes X $350 million per plane = 65,450,000,000. That $65 billion would pay the $600 million in interest which you cited for 98.48 years.

  7. How can the Government say that raising the Debt ceiling will not increase the Country’s Debt. Peter Welch is behind raising and raising the debt ceiling he was behind it in 2011 and is doing it again. Our Debt has increase close to 6-7 trillion dollars in the past 4.5 years..
    Saying raising the debt ceiling will not raise our debt is like saying you can max out your credit card but the payment and the amount owed will not change. Make sense right? It does to Peter Welch and his cronies.

    • John Greenberg :

      “Saying raising the debt ceiling will not raise our debt is like saying you can max out your credit card but the payment and the amount owed will not change. ”

      Your analogy is completely misguided. Raising the debt ceiling would be like raising your credit limit on a card that’s ALREADY been MORE than maxed out. You’ve spent the money already; now you’re reconciling the card’s limit to that reality.

      Congress ALREADY spent the money. EVERY spending bill since 2010 has passed the Republican House as well as the Democratic Senate.

      The argument about the debt ceiling is about whether or not Congress will allow the executive branch to pay the bills it has already incurred.

      The country’s debt was increased by spending money in excess of the old debt ceiling in the first place, NOT by extending the “debt ceiling.”

  8. Lee Russ :

    From 2009-2012 federal revenue ranged from 15.1% of GDP to 15.8% of GDP.

    Prior to 2009, guess the last time that revenue was less than 16% of GDP? It was 1950.

    Yet none of the people on this comment string who are really upset about the deficit has even mentioned raising revenue. Why?



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