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Rep. Fattah Introduces Bill That Ties Debt Ceiling To Congressional Spending And Avoids Future "Fiscal Cliffs"

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) offered legislation today on the first day of the new Congress that will head off one of the thorniest problems of the previous Congress – constant and pointless wrangling over the debt ceiling.

Fattah, a senior Appropriator from Philadelphia, introduced the "Ending Fiscal Cliffs Act of 2013," one of the first bills before the 113 th Congress. The legislation streamlines the process of raising the debt ceiling – which Congress could face within two months - to avoid paralyzing political maneuvers.

Under the current system, Congress authorizes Federal spending, then must grant redundant approval to borrow sufficient funds to cover the spending it has already approved. Fattah's bill restructures the process to make it more efficient. It allows the Administration to raise the debt ceiling, as necessary, in order to avoid default whenever Congress spends money or reduces revenues.

Fattah said the near-paralysis and threatened tax increases over the so-called "fiscal cliff" this week were set in motion by "the short-term, short-sighted and flawed resolution" during the 2011 debt ceiling debate. Enactment of the Fattah bill would prevent future "fiscal cliff" fiascos, including one that is looming when the debt ceiling limit is reached in two months.

"When Congress orders from the menu of spending, it's like going to a restaurant and ordering a meal from the menu," Fattah said, "There's no question about having to pay the bill – when you order the food, you agree to pay for it. There's no second debate over whether or not to pay the bill.

"Stability and predictability in the full faith and credit of the United States are critical to the nation's economic security," Fattah said. "The question of whether the United States will meet its debt obligations has long been decided in the affirmative and should not need further negotiation. This bill puts in place a solid remedy to ensure America meets its obligations."

The Philadelphia Congressman added, "This bill clarifies what's at stake in the recent budget-spending-revenue debate that was labeled 'the fiscal cliff.' How much money the federal government should raise and spend is an important, fundamental debate for Congress. But the debt ceiling is a phony distraction."

The Fattah bill directs the Secretary of the Treasury to determine whether Congressional expenditures require borrowing in excess of the existing debt limit. If so, the Secretary may raise the ceiling without further approval from Congress.

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