Durbin weighs in on debt debate

July 25, 2011 2:47:41 PM PDT
Two competing debt ceiling plans are emerging on Capitol Hill.

One plan, backed by House Republicans, would provide a short term solution to the debt ceiling problem. The other plan, supported by Senate Democrats and endorsed by the president, would extend the government's borrowing authority until 2013.

As the U.S. Senate's second highest ranking Democrat, Illinois' Dick Durbin has been a major player in these negotiations that are being followed closely around the globe. He says Republicans in Washington who want President Barack Obama to be a one term president are pushing the country and perhaps the entire world to the brink of another recession.

After announcing the planned reconstruction of a North Side "L" stop, Sen. Durbin turned quickly to the standoff in Washington.

"This may serve someone's political purposes but it doesn't serve the purpose of getting the American economy moving forward and creating jobs," he said.

He called House Republicans "irresponsible" for pushing the debt ceiling negotiations closer to the August 2nd deadline when rating services have threatened to downgrade the U.S. government's credit rating.

"It means that businesses, families and individuals across America will pay more for credit cards, for borrowing for homes, for cars. That is the reality," he said.

As the recession-weary United States continues to spend more than it collects in taxes, the government must borrow - or print more money - to make ends meet. Republicans agree on the need to borrow but insist on an equal amount in spending cuts to entitlement programs including Medicare and social security.

"Cuts need to be greater than the amount we're raising the debt limit by. We've got to begin getting our fiscal house in order that way," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R) Manteno.

But Republicans, who control the House, have refused to agree to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans as demanded by the president, who is backed by the Democratic majority in the Senate.

While Sen, Durbin says Republicans are going to the brink for the sake of politics, Congressman Kinzinger disagrees.

"To say that somehow that we're passionately trying to reduce the size of the federal government because of politics is wrong. We're doing it because we're responding to the will of the people," he said.

Other Republicans have accused the president and his fellow Democrats of politics by wanting to extend the debt ceiling to 2013 to avoid another crisis before the 2012 election.

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