Vitter Works to Protect Social Security During Debt Limit Debate

February 8, 2011

Introduces bill to prioritize Social Security benefits when debt limit is reached

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter recently introduced legislation that would require that if the U.S. reaches its debt limit, Social Security benefits for seniors and debt commitments will be the top priorities to be paid before paying any other obligations. The Senate is expected to begin debate on raising the debt ceiling in the coming weeks. Vitter is a proponent of a larger systematic change such as a balanced budget amendment.

“Some in Washington will tell you that the sky is falling and we have to hastily increase the national debt limit. Well I’m not buying it,” Vitter said. “During this debate, in addition to making sure we prioritize our responsibilities by paying our debt and interest first, I’ll be focused on making sure that seniors who need Social Security benefits will be protected.”

Vitter also introduced his legislation as an amendment to Sen. Patrick Toomey’s (R-PA) “Full Faith and Credit Act,” which would ensure that the U.S. government does not default on its debt by requiring the Treasury to prioritize payments on the debt in case the debt ceiling is not raised. Vitter’s legislation would put Social Security at the top of that priority list along with debt payment.

“Ultimately, Congress will have to address the debt limit in a responsible manner, but what Americans don’t want or need is the creation of a false sense of urgency to rush and increase our debt limit without serious, deep spending cuts. This legislation blunts some of that false sense of urgency by ensuring we don’t default on our most pressing obligations,” added Vitter. “Louisianians remember all too well how the rush to bail out the Wall Street banks and automakers worked out, and they don’t want to repeat that same, flawed process.”

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