WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement on passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which will allow the nation to pay its bills and avoid default.
“I voted for the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 in order to prevent a catastrophic and unprecedented default on the full faith and credit of the United States. Such a default would have led to a recession, significant job losses, financial market and retirement account turmoil, increasing interest rates for families and small businesses, and a reduction of our credit rating and global standing in the world.
“This bipartisan legislation represents a compromise in divided government. While I would have written the bill differently, I think it was negotiated in good faith and it avoids the most drastic cuts in essential services to Americans that were first proposed by the House of Representatives.
“Fortunately, the compromise legislation negotiated by the White House and the Speaker of the House passed by the House of Representatives with an overwhelming and bipartisan margin of 314-177, and now also has passed the Senate by a 63-36 vote. This legislation takes the debt limit as off the table until after the 2024 Presidential election, so it can no longer be used as a political weapon during this Congress.
“Importantly, this compromise agreement protects the historic accomplishments of the last Congress and the Biden administration, including bipartisan measures such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair our crumbling infrastructure, the CHIPS and Science Act to spur America’s innovation and competitiveness globally, and the PACT Act to do right by our injured veterans. This legislation passed by the Senate today protects the historic investments made in the Inflation Reduction Act to combat climate change, promote clean energy, make companies pay their fair share, and help alleviate the high costs of prescription drugs.
“It’s important to note that we were brought to the edge of this fiscal cliff because Republicans were balking at paying the bills for spending Congress previously debated and spent. We should never jeopardize our economy and our credit by refusing to pay our bills. The Constitution clearly states that ‘the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned.’
“We have avoided the worst consequences of default, but there is much work to be done. Congress must now turn to the difficult and important work of funding our government for the upcoming 2024 fiscal year, using the regular order envisioned by this budget agreement and our appropriations process. We also must pass legislation so that the full faith and credit of the United States is never held hostage to partisan fights again. Congress needs to permanently take this off the table and eliminate the debt ceiling.”