Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Votes to Address Debt Ceiling, Avert Catastrophic Default

Oct 12, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass critical legislation to prevent a first-ever default on the federal debt, which would result in economic catastrophe for nearly every American family. This crucial bill—which Senate Democrats passed on October 7thwill keep the United States under the debt limit through at least December 3rd.

“Defaulting on our credit would cause an unprecedented economic collapse, hurting every American and every Alabamian,” said Rep. Sewell. “Contrary to what some would have you believe, suspending the debt limit does not authorize any new spending. This is about paying bills that have piled up under previous administrations including President Trump's. Addressing the debt ceiling is the responsible thing to do, and I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues to protect families from catastrophe and pay our bills.”

With this legislation, which President Biden will soon sign into law, the federal government will be able to continue meeting financial obligations for another two months. This action only addresses previously approved spending, including bipartisan COVID relief, payments to Social Security recipients, payments of veterans’ benefits and paychecks for members of the military, and does not authorize future spending.

Senate Republicans continue to block action on a House-passed bill that addresses the debt ceiling through 2022—risking a cataclysmic default that would trigger a global economic collapse and devastate the financial security of nearly every American family.  A recent study by Moody’s showed that a debt default would:

  • Wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth;
  • Erase up to six million jobs; and
  • Double the unemployment rate, surging up to nine percent.

 Over the last decade, every time the debt limit has needed to be addressed, Congress has acted on a bipartisan basis—including three times under President Trump.  Despite Republicans adding $7.8 trillion to the federal debt over the last four years—including a $2 trillion tax cut benefiting the rich—Democrats still helped Republicans address the debt ceiling, because the full faith and credit of the United States must never come under threat.

Now, under President Biden, McConnell and many Republicans refuse to join Democrats to address the debt limit even though only 3 percent of the current debt was accumulated under President Biden, and more than 27 percent was incurred under President Trump. This is blatantly hypocritical: just two years ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that“America can't default” because “that would be a disaster.”