U.S. Chamber to Congress: Don’t Shut Down Government; Don’t Default

Sep 19, 2013

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

In a letter to Members of Congress, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President Bruce Josten has two pieces of advice for Congress: Don’t shut down the government; and don’t default on the national debt:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce fully recognizes the importance of restraining federal spending, both discretionary spending and mandatory spending, to reduce federal budget deficits, contain the growth of federal debt, and thereby re-establish fiscal discipline in the near-term and for the long haul. However, as the Department of Labor’s recent lackluster jobs report reminds us, the U.S. economy continues to underperform, reinforcing the need for the federal government to preserve its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms. It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or the American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy.

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber respectfully urges the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner and thus eliminate any question of threat to the full faith and credit of the United States government. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has indicated the Treasury may exhaust its borrowing capacity and cash management tools as early as mid-October.

The federal government’s fiscal year ends September 30, and Congress hasn’t passed all its appropriation bills for the next fiscal year that begins on October 1. Unless Congress passes a “Continuing Resolution” or a “CR,” the government will shut down nonessential operations.

In addition, the nation’s debt limit is estimated to be reached sometime in mid-October. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the U.S. could default, roiling financial markets and severely rattling the fragile economy.

By moving past these fiscal deadlines, Josten writes, Congress can focus on passing appropriation bills for the next fiscal year as well as work on critical issues like entitlement reform, comprehensive tax reform, and fixing Obamacare.

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