(Host) Congressman Peter Welch calls a debt ceiling bill he’s introduced a backup plan in case Congress can’t agree on another plan.
Welch’s bill is a straight "up-or-down" vote on raising the debt ceiling.
Welch says there must be a measure available in case no resolution is reached.
(Welch) "If we get to the point, literally we’re staring at August 2nd, we’re staring at default, then I and many of my colleagues would be demanding the opportunity to be accountable to the American people by being allowed to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether we pay our bills or whether we default."
(Host) Welch has over 100 co-sponsors to his bill, but no Republican support. Republican Speaker John Boehner would have to allow the bill to be voted on.
Welch says that allowing the US government to default on its debt is unjustifiable in his view.
(Welch) "This question of paying out bills is not debatable. I mean, this is absolutely unprecedented that Congress is having a debate now as though it’s optional that we pay bills to people who’ve provided services to this country."
(Host) Among the other strategies being mentioned to end the impasse is President Obama raising the debt ceiling without the approval of Congress. Legal experts are debating whether the president could invoke the 14th Amendment of the constitution to do so. Welch says even that scenario is better than defaulting.
(Welch) "I think the president has been wise to try to resolve this through the political system, because that’s the way we should do it. But if it literally came to August 2nd and Congress was deadlocked and the question for the president was default or assert authority under the 14th amendment, then I would support him in doing that. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but default is absolutely devastating for everybody."
(Host) Welch says he does not support a Balanced Budget Amendment, another point that’s been debated as part of the debt ceiling negotiations. He says the federal government has to have some flexibility to help states during times of economic recession.