Congress gets back to work after the Labor Day holiday, and lawmakers will be confronting a lot of fiscal issues. They include whether to raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government after the fiscal year ends on September 30th.
Some Republicans say they are tying their support for raising the government's borrowing authority to their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which they call "Obamacare;" and that measures be taken to reign in spending and control the deficit. But 6th District Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) says those issues are not related to raising the debt ceiling. "The fiscal trajectory we are on is not sustainable across the long term. We have to look at and make a variety of adjustments to how we raise revenues and how we spend money. But none of those things are related to the debt ceiling. It's a bit of a distraction to the real work that we need to do," he says.
Delaney also says failing to increase the government's borrowing authority could have dire consequences. "That could roil the global capital markets. That could cause significant disruptions in the debt and equity markets. It could freeze credit and could negatively impact on the economy because people could be fearful of what all that means," he says.
Congressman Delaney was in Frederick on Tuesday to take part in the Anniversary breakfast for the United Way of Frederick County, and to visit with students at Frederick High. On Wednesday, he visits Fort Detrick.
In an interview with WFMD Radio, Delaney says there's concerns that Congress may get embroiled in debates about tax and spending policies which could delay votes on funding for the federal government, and that could lead to a shut down. "Government shutdown is an irrelevant tactic that's not related to the real work that we're doing," he says. "Shutting down the government, which not only affects federal workers--I represent a lot of federal workers and I don't want to see them affected--but it affects the American people," he says. "The hard decisions are around tax policy, spending policy and entitlement policy. Shutting down the government doesn't accomplish any of those things."
Delaney says he agrees with some of his colleagues that reforms are needed in how the government is financed. He says he favors revising the tax code to produce more revenue, reforming government spending and entitlements, and paying down the debt. If none of that happens, he says, the future looks bleak. "If we don't do these things in 20 years, the vast majority of federal resources will go toward entitlement programs and interest on our debt. And that doesn't make a good future," says Delaney.