Corker, Cooper respond to short-term debt limit extension

Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 3:31pm

Sen. Bob Corker called Thursday for a short-term extension of the U.S. debt limit to prevent a downgrading of the country’s credit rating.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Corker, R-Tenn., said the proposals offered by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid both are probably too weak to avert a downgrade.

Corker said Congress should pass a short-term extension and “at least take a week” to try to agree on a plan that would produce enough savings to satisfy the credit ratings agencies. He called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to “send a signal to the world that our future is not the future that Greece is seeing today.”

Relatedly, Congressman Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., issued a statement Thursday regarding his decision to vote ‘no’ on Boehner’s Budget Control Act of 2011.

“We need a comprehensive, bipartisan proposal that raises our debt ceiling and lowers the debt in the long-term, and we need one in the next 5 days,” Cooper said in the statement. “The Boehner bill doesn’t meet any of these criteria and it won’t have my support.”

Cooper has introduced legislation (H.R. 2653) that would stop congressional pay if the United States defaults on the national debt. The bill would prohibit members from receiving pay during a default, and would not allow for that pay to be recouped retroactively. Cooper is also the only member of Congress to vote for every proposal available to raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2. 

Cooper is a long time advocate of a bipartisan debt plan that reduces spending and reforms the tax code. Last week, he sent a letter to Boehner and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to allow a vote on the “Gang of Six” bipartisan proposal that would have reduced the debt by almost $4 trillion over the next 10 years. House leadership has not initiated a vote on the proposal.

Standard & Poor’s has said a deficit reduction package of about $4 trillion over 10 years would be necessary to protect the country’s AAA credit rating. Neither Boehner’s nor Reid’s proposal would cut that much.

According to analysts, a credit rating downgrade could result in a $100 billion increase in annual borrowing costs for the government, which would in turn increase interest rates for consumers.

“After town hall meetings all across our state, in every form you can imagine, people are very aware in my state, as they are across the country, with the fact that we are on an unsustainable course,” Corker said. “We have two bills that don’t go far enough, and again I applaud both the Democratic leader and the Republican leader for putting forth proposals. We all know it doesn’t do what it needs to do, either proposal.

“We know the aspirational goals of each proposal don’t take us far enough. So what I would say to all, let’s don’t default. Let’s don’t bump up against August the 3rd. Let’s pass a short-term time extension. Let’s take us through the end of August or the first two weeks in September, or at least take a week. But let’s finish our work in this body.

“Let’s don’t miss this seminal opportunity where everybody in this country and everybody in this world is looking at how undisciplined we’ve been and the opportunity that we have before us to actually be disciplined and send a signal to the world that our future is not the future that Greece is seeing today. Our future is the continuation of American exceptionalism, all around this world, and we are squandering that opportunity right now in this body at a time when we’re finally focused on the right topic.”

7 Comments on this post:

By: Chris72 on 7/28/11 at 4:01

And lets all take a pay cut and cut to our pensions before we even think about taxing and cutting into the American people's pocketbook.....oh wait, LOL my bad that's unrealistic of me to think that.

By: pswindle on 7/28/11 at 6:16

Corker get off of your GOP talking points. You know that a short extension will not help the downgrade, but only a long-term extension will help the USA and the American people. I'm so tired of you trying o tell the people of TN that you are a good ole boy. We all know better.

By: govskeptic on 7/28/11 at 7:01

Cooper is right on the cuts needed over 10 yrs needs to be at least 4 trillion, if
not a bit more. The leadership of both parties helped get the deficit this high and
the same group doesn't want to take the bold steps or heat to truly reduce it!

By: treehugger7 on 7/29/11 at 7:02

At least we have one representative that understands why he is in Washington! He isn't there to enrich himself or grandstand. He wants to do what he was elected to do, as shown by his willingness to vote. UNLIKE CORKER! Obstructionism will (hopefully) be the death knell for the GOP!

By: rawhide on 7/29/11 at 2:42

You guys crack me up.

How did the "cuts" in the "Gang of Six" proposal amount to $4 trillion? They didn't and don't.

What specific cuts (not to mention long-term cuts) has Jim Cooper proposed? And he's wrong in saying that the Boehner proposal "doesn't meet any of [his] criteria" it raises the debt ceiling by over a trillion dollars immediately.

Heaven help us if S&P can't see through the bogus "cuts" (to be made by future spend-thrift Congresses, honest!!!) to realize that the Democrats in general (there are some exceptions, especially when there's a Republican President) have little to no interest in restraining the growth of entitlements, EVER.

By: GammaMoses on 7/30/11 at 8:47

The economy won't get downgraded because Congress cannot put country ahead of politics this week. The economy will be downgraded because of irresponsible spending by both parties started years ago. Only a balanced budget amendment can put the brakes on irresponsible spending by the federal government. Boehner tried to do this. He did not get Cooper's support. Cutting off a congressperson's salary makes for nice political speeches but it does not solve anything. Most congresspeople have resources--or their family members do--to live a life of luxury without their congressional salaries. How dumb does Washington think voters are???

By: rawhide on 7/30/11 at 5:13

Of course, on the issue of Cooper's proposal, it is ironic for a man of wealth to be proposing legislation that would make less-advantaged Representatives susceptible to threats of not getting a paycheck if s/he doesn't vote this or that way on an issue such as this. Frankly, I perceive this is demagoguery by Cooper.