Crawford Calls on President to Protect Seniors, Military

Jul 14, 2011
Economy
Press

Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) and 62 other representatives today sent a letter calling on President Barack Obama to prioritize payments to debt-interest, Social Security and Medicare, and military compensation in the event a debt ceiling agreement is not reached by August 2.

“President Obama said earlier this month, ‘I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue.’  In fact he can guarantee that those checks will go out,” said Congressman Crawford at a press conference held this morning.   “It’s his responsibility to make sure that they do along with (Treasury Secretary) Timothy Geithner.  And we’re here just to remind him that we want to make sure our seniors and soldiers are taken care of first and foremost and that we meet our financial obligations to our interest payments. We’re just calling on our President to assume the position of CEO and to prioritize accordingly.”

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

We remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached in the near future regarding spending levels and the debt ceiling. We write to you today, however, to express strong concern about recent comments by Treasury Secretary Geithner. We ask that you clarify for the American people that the Treasury will in fact continue making the monthly interest payments owed on our national debt, even if the debt ceiling is reached. 

As you are aware, the revenue projection for FY11 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is $2,230 billion.  The total estimated interest payment for FY11 is $213 billion.  For FY12, CBO estimates revenues of $2,558 billion and interest payments totaling $257 billion.

Statements by Secretary Geithner have led many Americans to believe that reaching the debt ceiling will cause the United States government to go into default on its interest payments August 2nd if the debt ceiling is reached. 

Clearly, that is not the case, as the figures above indicate.   Additionally, many Americans believe making Social Security payments (CBO estimates: FY11: $727 billion; FY12: $760 billion), Medicare payments (CBO estimates: FY11: $563 billion; FY12: $560 billion) and ensuring the pay of our military personnel (DOD estimates: FY11 $157 billion; FY12: $160 billion) should be the Administration’s next priorities.  Allowing statements to the contrary jeopardizes the good faith and credit of the United States.  

We ask that you make an immediate, clear and unequivocal public commitment that your Administration will continue to make all interest payments on time, as well as ensuring the pay of our military personnel, and making Social Security and Medicare payments in full. 

We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Click here to view the letter online.

For more information on Congressman Rick Crawford, click here.

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Letter to President Obama

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