Levin Floor Statement on Redundant GOP Debt Legislation

Feb 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor ahead of a vote on H.R. 3442, a Republican bill that would require the U.S. Treasury Department to provide a redundant report to Congress on the debt limit, and would do nothing to address the deficit.

(Remarks as delivered)

“This bill is nothing more than a diversion. It requires the Treasury Department to provide to Congress information on the debt limit that we already receive, distracting from Republicans’ repeated recklessness about default and reinforcing the false belief that the debt limit is a tool for managing the debt.

“House Republicans refused to invite OMB Director Shaun Donovan to Capitol Hill this week to testify on the President’s budget – an unprecedented action. Yet we’re debating this bill today which would require the Treasury Secretary to provide a report and come testify before Congress on the very debt reduction proposals they are refusing to hear about now. If nothing else, Republicans are proving they’re consistent with their inconsistency.

“If we were to request from Treasury a new report related to the debt limit, it should focus on the dire consequences of default. It should provide detailed information on the veterans who would not get the benefits they’ve earned. It should tell how many doctors and hospitals who treat Medicare patients won't be paid for care they already provided. It should enumerate the Pell Grants we will not pay to students who rely on them to pay for college. And it should explain and enumerate the catastrophic consequences of default to our economy.

“This is the kind of information Congress might need the next time we debate the debt limit, if Republicans again propose default instead of responsible action. Instead, Republicans are insisting on a report that would distract from the danger of default, and do nothing to help reduce the debt.

“If the real goal is debt reduction, Republicans should welcome OMB Director Donovan to explain the Administration's ideas, and then they should sit down with Democrats and take bipartisan action now, as we did during the Clinton Administration when bipartisan legislation generated record budget surpluses.

“With this bill, Republicans are hoping to divert focus from their inability to take action to reduce the deficit, and instead blame Treasury and the Administration.

“The Administration has issued a Statement of Administration Policy, and it states that if the President were presented with H.R. 3442, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill. 

“I say to the Republicans in this House – you talk about common ground, yet you bring forward something that is a sham.

“I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’ on this bill.”