The American Federation of Teachers Calls on Congress to Pass a Clean Bill to Raise the Debt Limit

US Congress

The full faith and credit of the United States Government – the expectation that the United States will pay our bills – is the underpinning that protects and supports our entire economy and the millions of livelihoods that depend on this stability.

Congress has a long history of working in a bipartisan manner to raise the debt limit with no strings attached - three times most recently under the Trump Administration. This is because raising the debt limit in no way creates additional federal spending nor does it create new obligations for the federal government. Instead, it simply allows the government to meet previous obligations made over time by Congressional majorities and Presidents of both parties. Doing otherwise could result in default – or even the threat of default – which would have a devastating impact on all Americans.

Social Security recipients and veterans count on receiving their earned benefits. Doctors and hospitals who treat Medicaid and Medicare patients depend on receiving the reimbursements they’ve been promised. Federal employees – dedicated public servants who help ensure that our food is safe to eat, and our bridges are safe to drive on – have faith that they will be paid for their work. States and local governments rely on collecting the funding for schools that Congress has pledged to them. And the financial sector which extends credit to individuals and businesses while also investing in our economy can continue to do so knowing that they can trust that the U.S. government will pay its bills on time and in full.

We welcome a robust, thoughtful debate about the value of creating a fairer tax code, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and making additional investments in our nation via discretionary spending programs through the annual appropriations bills. However, those conversations should not be tied to making good on the obligations that pervious Congresses and Presidents have already passed into law, and threatening the financial health of families, communities, and the global economy. Doing so would be fiscally imprudent and shortsighted.

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To: US Congress
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, call on Congressional Leadership to pass a clean bill to raise the debt limit without hesitation to protect American families and our economy from a catastrophe that is both wholly manufactured but devastatingly real in its consequences.