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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Senator Whitehouse: Why I voted for the debt ceiling deal

By Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

At a time when our country is feeling the real effects of unemployment, struggling to pay mortgages and every day bills - it is unconscionable that anyone would play politics to make these problems worse.
But that was exactly the difficult situation that was unfolding in DC with the debt ceiling crisis.  Too many people were using the catastrophic threat of a government default to their advantage. 

Here’s what the real impact of defaulting on our financial obligations would have meant for Rhode Islanders:

The equivalent of a tax increase for middle-class families and small businesses…resulting from increased interest rates on everything from your car to your mortgage to your student loans.  Small businesses would have had less means to make their business grow – and in turn, to provide desperately needed new jobs.  All because it would be the first time that our country’s credit rating had been devalued.  
That’s too steep a price for Rhode Islanders to pay…and that’s why I made the difficult choice to vote to support the debt ceiling deal yesterday
While it’s not the deal I was hoping for, I want you to know that this deal does not cut benefits for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.  The passage of yesterday’s deal will ensure that Social Security checks will continue to be sent out and benefits will be preserved.
But I share the frustrations that so many of you have voiced.  Rather than punishing our seniors and the middle class, it's time we asked the wealthiest Americans and the big corporations to pay their fair share.  To that end, I will keep working to close the loopholes and get rid of the sweetheart tax breaks that corporations and oil companies are taking advantage of everyday.  And I will continue to watch out for Rhode Island's seniors - who have earned their benefits and should be absolutely guaranteed they're going to get them.
Yesterday, we dodged a significant financial crisis for our country.  And now it’s time to get back to the business of creating jobs. I look forward to updating you on my latest job efforts in the near future.