Crapo, Risch Vote 'No' On Debt Limit Extension

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Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch don't agree that temporarily extending the nation's deb debt limit was the best choice at this time. Crapo and Risch joined 32 other senators—mostly Republicans—who lost to a majority of 64 senators—mostly Democrats—in extending the limit of debt that the government can incur until Sunday, May 19. If the minority had their way, Congress would have had to act swiftly to avoid a potential default or render the country unable to pay its bills.

Following the vote, Crapo and Risch released the following statement late today:

“Budget agreements in the last Congress set the precedent that any increase in the debt ceiling should be equally matched with spending cuts. An amendment offered by our colleague, [Ohio Republican] Senator Rob Portman, would have done just that, but unfortunately was defeated. Therefore, we could not support this legislation. Washington must practice financial restraint and get our spending problem under control.”

President Barack Obama is expected to swiftly sign the legislation as lawmakers gear up for the next budget showdown: deep automatic spending cuts that will begin to hit the economy Friday, March 1, if nothing is done to stop them.

At one time, the U.S. Congress authorized borrowing only for large expenditures, such as fighting World War I or the construction of the Panama Canal. In 1939, the nation's lawmakers set the first aggregate national debt limit at $45 billion. The debt limit was $300 billion by the end of World War II. Total outstanding U.S. debt first topped $1 trillion in 1982. Since 1962, Congress has raised the debt limit 76 times. The U.S. reached its $16.4 trillion debt limit on Dec. 31.

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