Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Say 'Bayh' to the Debt?

Oct 16, 2009

This week, Senator Bayh (D-IN) and nine other Democratic senators sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) expressing concern over the size of the U.S. debt. In the letter, the senators argue that:

"The bigger our deficits, the fewer resources we have to provide critical investments in energy, education and health care and tax relief for small businesses and middle-class families...We believe Congress needs to adopt a special process to deal with our nation’s long-term fiscal imbalances. We do not believe that action on these important issues will occur under the regular order in Congress.”

Public U.S. debt has almost reach $12 trillion, just below the $12.1 trillion debt limit under current law. In the letter, the senators stated that each citizen’s share of the debt amounts to over $38,000. Congress is expected to pass legislation soon to increase the debt limit above $12.1 trillion to ensure that we do not default—marking the eighth time since 2001.

CRFB is encouraged that lawmakers are expressing concern over our large and growing debt. The proposal to create an independent debt-reducing panel is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. However, creating a separate process to deal with our deficits and debt should not overshadow the need to continue pursuing deficit-reducing policies. No special process or independent panel can substitute for the hard choices ahead in reducing, or even stabilizing, the debt.

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