Daily Inter Lake: Risking the Country for Political Points

by John Santa

The artificial crisis created by the debt ceiling has been averted by agreeing to a bipartisan compromise. This might sound like an unimportant political hassle that always gets resolved with both sides blaming the other. So, why pay attention?

Had we failed to pass this bill to suspend the debt limit it would have caused an immediate loss of income for many in Montana, an increase in mortgage and borrowing rates and a drop in the stock market of 10% to 20% . Payments for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veteran benefits and military personnel would have stopped, not to mention triggering a recession on the scale of 2008-09.

We were dangerously close to default if either house of Congress refused to pass this legislation. Failing to pass would mean the Treasury would have been out of money by June 5, and the debt ceiling would have prevented borrowing more to pay for legitimate expenses already purchased. In other words, the U.S. would have been untrustworthy deadbeats, unwilling to keep our promises. Failure to raise the debt limit is not the way to resolve our budget deficit which requires a long term, thoughtful, bipartisan budget, not cheap political stunts and crisis pressured negotiation.

Fortunately, we have enough intelligent members of Congress who would not allow our country to default. They passed this bill in bipartisan fashion 314-117 in the house, and 63-36 in the senate.

Sen. Jon Tester was the only legislator from Montana to vote for this bill.

Sen. Steve Daines, and Congressmen Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke voted against it.

The question remains why any Montanan would vote for a legislator who willingly risks our countries welfare to score political points and remains unwilling to remove the 100-year-old debt ceiling law allowing this political black mail.

— John Santa, Kalispell

Letters to the editor June 11 | Daily Inter Lake