Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Votes to Address Debt Ceiling, Pay the Bills & Avert Catastrophic Default

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Washington, October 12, 2021 | Benjamin Bryant ((202) 309-2383) | comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) voted for critical legislation to prevent a first-ever default on the nation’s federal debt, which would result in economic catastrophe for American families. This crucial bill – which Senate Democrats passed on October 7th, with all Senate Republicans present voting against – will keep the United States under the debt limit through at least December 3rd.

“Democrats are working hard to avoid a catastrophic and unprecedented debt default, which would devastate the financial future of families in California’s 40th Congressional District, statewide, and across the nation,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “Addressing the debt ceiling has long been a bipartisan obligation. But now, Senate Republicans are recklessly refusing to help us to pay America’s bills for spending many of them voted for under the former president, including tax cuts for the super rich at the expense of working families. While the Democratic Congress successfully diverted a disastrous default today with this short-term measure, it is shameful and irresponsible that Senate Republicans will not join us in finding a longer-term solution.”

With this legislation, which President Biden will soon sign into law, the federal government will be able to continue meeting financial obligations for another two months. This action only addresses previously-approved spending, including bipartisan COVID relief, payments to Social Security recipients, payments of veterans’ benefits, and paychecks for members of the military – and does not authorize future spending.

Senate Republicans continue to block action on a House-passed bill that addresses the debt ceiling through 2022 – risking a cataclysmic default that would trigger a global economic collapse and devastate the financial security of nearly every American family. A recent study by Moody’s showed that a debt default would:

  • Wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth;
  • Erase up to six million jobs; and
  • Double the unemployment rate, surging up to nine percent.

Over the last decade, every time the debt limit has needed to be addressed, Congress has acted on a bipartisan basis – including three times under President Trump. Despite Republicans having added $7.8 trillion to the federal debt over the last four years – including a $2 trillion tax scam benefiting the richest Americans – Democrats still helped Republicans address the debt ceiling, because the full faith and credit of the United States must never come under threat. 

Now, under President Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many Republicans refuse to join Democrats to pay the bills and address the debt limit – despite the fact that only 3 percent of the current debt was accumulated under President Biden, and more than 27 percent was incurred under President Trump. This is blatantly hypocritical: just two years ago, McConnell agreed that “America can't default” because “that would be a disaster.”

“Experts agree that a first-ever default would bring unthinkable economic suffering to American families,” Rep. Roybal-Allard continued. “As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to safeguard America’s full faith and credit and to protect families from financial ruin. I call on my Republican colleagues to join us in honoring this solemn duty.”

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