KRDO: Debt-Ceiling Debate
Congressman Doug Lamborn spoke with KRDO news reporters Lindsay Watts and Mike Lewis last night to give them an update on the debt-ceiling talks in Washington. KRDO radio carried the interview live on 1240 AM.
The Congressman told KRDO that he is leaning toward supporting the Boehner plan because, although it is not perfect by any means, it is better than the alternatives.
To listen to the entire exchange, click here.
Below are highlights.
What could happen if we don't raise the debt ceiling ?
No one is really prepared because this has never happened before. It’s not a government shutdown, but it is a slowdown, which means because we only have enough money to pay roughly 60% of our bills. We would have to leave a lot of people unpaid, and no one knows how that would work. We’ve had suggestions for the president like pay interest on the bonds, pay veterans, military and social security. But he obviously would have the right to impose a different set of priorities. But no one wants this to happen, and we’re working hard to prevent it from happening. But at the same time Lindsey, we don’t want to sacrifice the principles of saying, hey, let’s live within our means because not living within our means is what got us here and we don’t want to do this again.
Are you on board with the Boehner plan ?
It’s not a perfect plan. There are things I would change about it, but it’s better than what I see the alternatives as being. One alternative is to go into this slow down about August 3rd. The other would be to let Harry Reid put out his Senate plan, which frankly frightens me. It basically "saves money" by cutting defense and then some budgetary gimmicks. It does not solve any problems and actually makes things worse, so in lieu of the bad alternatives, I’m leaning towards supporting it, yes.
Do you think you are going to be able to reach an agreement with Democrats ?
We’re trying. We’re working hard. We have a meeting in the morning. We’ve had meetings all week long as Republicans, and we’re getting a lot of briefings and information.
Is the Republicans' debt plan going to benefit the people making less than the national poverty level ?
I think everyone benefits if we don’t borrow and spend so much as a country. For one thing, our treasuries are threatened to be downgraded, which makes the cost of everything go up. Any kind of loan – car loan, whatever – the interest rates would go up. When the financial markets are in turmoil or even questionable, it makes it harder for companies to hire people because there is more uncertainty in the market place, so that doesn’t help anybody of any economic level. I think by reaching an agreement, and most of all, an agreement that keeps us off this trajectory of borrowing and spending without any end in sight, if we get finances under control,that really helps the financial security and health and prosperity of our whole country.
What about the people that can’t even afford even a few days delay in getting that check ?
We, as Republicans, have told President Obama, here is the list of priorities we want to take place, so that doesn’t happen. He doesn’t have to listen to us. He can follow a different set of priorities if he wanted. It would be his call on August 3rd.
Are you willing to stop all presidential and congressional pay until Congress gets this settled ?
I’d be willing to do that as well. Last year and the coming year, we have cut congressional budgets for offices and committees, so we are trying to lead by example.
What does default mean ?
If it’s not August 3rd, I think it would be a few days afterward, because I have looked pretty closely at the numbers. I don’t think it would be weeks and weeks and weeks. I think it would be a matter of days. The trouble is we are borrowing 42 cents on the dollar. If you stop that cold turkey, a lot of people are left in the lurch and it’s like not paying for bills that you’ve already incurred. We’ve obligated ourselves to certain expenses for the rest of the fiscal year. That would not be responsible. Now, some people are saying, let’s do it to force a resolution. If I knew that that would happen, I would be all for that, but we’re running into real risky territory and uncharted territory going down that road, and it’s not my preference to do that.