PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local members of Congress disagree on how important it is to raise the debt ceiling by August 2.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, reflects a view of many Tea Party members.
“We have enough revenue to take care of some of our bills, not all our bills, so at that point then it becomes, ‘What do you take care of? What do you not take care of? Where’s the priorities?’” Kelly told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.
For some Republicans like Kelly, not raising the debt ceiling forces the Obama administration to cut government spending.
“We got to draw some lines that make it impossible to keep going this way. The trajectory of the debt is just incredibly, it’s so reckless right now and irresponsible,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to get that fixed.”
But U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, says the nation’s credit rating is at stake on August 2.
“An unprecedented default — you hear that term — the full faith and credit of the United States being called into question, purely for political reasons in a totally unprecedented way, but it’s self-inflicted,” he explained.
Altmire says besides some government payments not being made at the end of next week, “That’s going to have a significant impact on interest rates and on all investments, on the stock market, on people’s retirement plans, 401Ks, IRAs, on your credit card interest rate, on your mortgage, on everything.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, says raising taxes cannot be part of the debt ceiling plan.
“This is not the time to take more money out of the economy to spend on a government that has shown absolute unwillingness in the administration to get spending under control,” he said. “It has gone up massively in the last couple of years and that has to stop.”
The lines drawn in the sand have been sharp.
Democrats say it’s unfair to ask middle class Americans to take cuts in Social Security, Medicare, student loans and other programs without closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy.
But Republicans have insisted no tax increases on anyone.
As of right now, that means no agreement.