As President Obama prepares to demand another increase in the nation's nearly $17 trillion debt ceiling later this month, about half of all House Republicans have joined to block him in a way that would keep the nation from defaulting and key programs like Social Security, Medicare and veteran's benefits flowing.
Backed by 106 co-sponsors and the powerful Republican Study Committee, the measure dubbed the Full Faith and Credit Act is the latest GOP effort to bar an increase in the debt ceiling, which has jumped 30 percent under Obama who has boosted it four times already.
The House this week is expected to vote in the measure proposed by California Rep. Tom McClintock. On Tuesday morning, the RSC strongly endorsed the act, already backed by FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana congressman who heads the RSC, said in a statement to Secrets, "The Full Faith and Credit Act is a proactive step to prevent default, provide certainty to seniors, and preserve America's credit rating. Under President Obama's watch, the American credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history, and our economy cannot afford for that to happen again."
The GOP said that the act essentially removes the threat of a default by requiring the Treasury to prioritize its bills and pay debt first, then major programs. In the meantime, the president would have to figure a way to cut spending so that revenue and spending match.
"Hitting the debt ceiling is a symptom of Washington's spending problem. By taking the threat of default off the table, this bill allows Washington to focus on actually solving the spending problem so we can create a healthy economy," said Scalise. "This bill provides certainty for our economy while we work to implement real solutions to the spending problem that continues forcing Washington to max out its credit card."
Democrats counter that bill-paying can't be prioritized if the original spending wasn't and they worry that some programs down the priority list will never be paid.
According to an RSC statement, the Full Faith and Credit Act would:
» Prevent default by requiring that the Treasury Department prioritize interest payments on U.S. debt and the Social Security Trust Fund in the event the debt ceiling is hit
» Preserve our status as an economic leader
» Protect the U.S. credit rating
» Provide certainty to seniors and our economy.