New Bill Proposes Ways To Eliminate Debt Ceiling Issues in the Future

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The federal government is due to reach its debt limit on Dec. 15, meaning payments and services that affect millions of Americans might have to be reduced or shut down if Congress doesn’t do anything to raise it. This has become a recurring problem, and a pair of lawmakers want to do something about it through a new bill that would fundamentally change how the debt ceiling is handled.

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The bipartisan Responsible Budgeting Act, unveiled last week by Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), aims to permanently diffuse the debt ceiling and offer proposals on how to reduce the national debt.

The bill includes two options for temporarily suspending the debt ceiling, CBS News reported. In one of them, if Congress passes a concurrent budget resolution that cuts the debt per GDP by at least 5% over 10 years, it would automatically generate separate legislation to suspend the debt ceiling through the end of the following fiscal year. 

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The other option works like this: If Congress has not acted on a budget resolution, or if the debt ceiling is close to being reached, the president could request a suspension through the following fiscal year. This would go into effect unless Congress passes a resolution of disapproval. The president’s request to Congress would need to be accompanied by a debt reduction proposal that both the House and Senate would have to vote on.

“Every economist from the most conservative to the most liberal acknowledges that the path we’re on is not sustainable, but there’s very little consensus about when to do something about it,” Peters said in a statement. “To be honest, I think both parties have been, fallen short on this, and I think we’re trying to deal with it in a responsible way here.”

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The bill he and Arrington propose has the backing of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, and has also been reviewed by key players in Congress and the Biden administration, CNBC reported. Whether it will make it into law is anybody’s guess, but it has caught the attention of numerous bigwigs in the nation’s capital.

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“I know that this proposal has been circulated widely,” Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in a press briefing. “That doesn’t mean that it will necessarily advance, but it does have momentum.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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