Government

Foster wants to do away with country’s ‘arbitrary’ borrowing limit

Congressman said the debt ceiling has been ‘weaponized,’ creating disruptions to the U.S. and global financial system

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster is backing legislation to repeal the national debt ceiling, what he called an “arbitrary” limit set by Congress on the amount of funding the U.S. Treasury may borrow to pay for the federal government’s expenses.

Foster, D-Naperville, argued in a news release the national debt ceiling has been “weaponized” during budget negotiations, which he said created the potential for massive disruptions to the country’s financial system and drastic consequences for the global economy.

“Threatening to default on our debt is no different than ordering an expensive meal at a restaurant, eating it, and leaving without paying the bill,” Foster said in the release. “The government has an obligation to pay its bills, just as hard working Americans do. I’m proud to join with my colleagues in the Senate to eliminate the debt ceiling and the unnecessary brinksmanship it allows.”

In practice, the debt limit has no impact on government spending which is approved by Congress, according to the release. Instead, the ceiling restricts the U.S. Treasury from paying for expenditures which Congress had already authorized.

The representative said this disconnected process regularly requires Congress to raise the ceiling before it’s reached, which turned into a politicized procedure and often leads to threats of defaulting on the government’s obligation pay its bills.

Foster introduced the bill with U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.