Rep. Johnson Votes to Address Debt Ceiling, Prevent Catastrophic Default

October 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) voted for must-pass legislation to prevent a first-ever default on the federal debt, which would result in economic catastrophe for nearly every American family. This crucial bill – which Senate Democrats passed on October 7th, with all Senate Republicans present voting against – will keep the United States under the debt limit through at least December 3rd.

“Democrats are hard at work to avoid a catastrophic and unprecedented debt default, which would devastate the financial future of Georgia families,” said Rep. Johnson. “Addressing the debt ceiling has long been a bipartisan obligation – but now, Senate Republicans are recklessly refusing to help us to pay off America’s credit card for spending many of them voted for under the former president. While today the Democratic Congress averted a disastrous default with a short-term measure, it is shameful and irresponsible that Senate Republicans will not join us in finding a longer-term solution.”

With this legislation, which President Biden will soon sign into law, the federal government will be able to continue meeting financial obligations for another two months. This action only addresses previously approved spending, including bipartisan COVID relief, payments to Social Security recipients, payments of veterans’ benefits and paychecks for members of the military – and does not authorize future spending.

Senate Republicans continue to block action on a House-passed bill that addresses the debt ceiling through 2022 – risking a cataclysmic default that would trigger a global economic collapse and devastate the financial security of nearly every American family. A recent study by Moody’s showed that a debt default would:

•    Wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth; 
•    Erase up to six million jobs; and
•    Double the unemployment rate, surging up to nine percent.
 
Over the last decade, every time the debt limit has needed to be addressed, Congress has acted on a bipartisan basis – including three times under President Trump.  Despite Republicans adding $7.8 trillion to the federal debt over the last four years – including a $2 trillion tax scam benefiting the rich – Democrats still helped Republicans address the debt ceiling, because the full faith and credit of the United States must never come under threat.  
 
Now, under President Biden, McConnell and many Republicans refuse to join Democrats to address the debt limit – despite the fact that only 3 percent of the current debt was accumulated under President Biden, and more than 27 percent was incurred under President Trump. This is blatantly hypocritical: just two years ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that “America can't default” because “that would be a disaster.”

“By refusing to allow our nation to pay for spending the Congress has already authorized, Republicans are playing a cynical game of Russian Roulette with our economy and our children’s future,” Rep. Johnson continued.  “Experts agree that a first-ever default would bring unthinkable economic suffering to American families.  As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to safeguard America’s full faith and credit and to protect families from financial ruin – and I call on my Republican colleagues to join us in honoring this solemn duty.”

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Recent Votes

Date Roll Call Bill Vote
10/26/2021 336 H.R.2119 Yea
10/26/2021 335 H.R.2119 Nay
10/26/2021 334 H.R.2119 Yea
10/25/2021 333 H.R.2989 Yea
10/25/2021 332 H.R.4111 Yea