Press Release

Congressman David Scott Urges Treasury Secretary to give hard deadline for Federal debt limit

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Washington, July 27, 2017 | comments

Today Congressman David Scott (GA-13) called for more than a nebulous answer on when the United States will risk defaulting on its debt obligations during the House Financial Services Committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Scott raised alarms about how such non-answers inject uncertainty in the markets.  Additionally, when pressed by Scott, Sec. Mnuchin failed to commit to sending the Committee and Congress regular updates on when the U.S. will default without an increase in the debt ceiling by Congress.  Leading up to the 2015 debt limit showdown, Mnuchin’s predecessor, Jack Lew, sent several letters to Congress on July 29, September 10, October 1 and October 15.

Click here to watch video of Congressman Scott’s exchange with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Transcript of the exchange is included below:

Rep. Scott: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to ask you two questions. Let me get the first one out of the way. First, we’ve had some discussions about the debt limit and I just want to remind you that your predecessors, Jack Lew especially, would send us estimates which would give us a running account of when that possible time would come. But your response to that has been, “Congress should act.”  Then you keep providing us with a nebulous deadline of sometime after September.

Now Mr. Mnuchin, you and I both know that the markets’ worst enemy is uncertainty; not to mention uncertainty around the debt limit, which also plays a role in what the Fed does. And keeping that sterling credit rating, Triple A, all around the world, is what sustains us. It is the backbone of what keeps our country the number one financial system.

So, let me just ask you, can you commit to this committee today that within a week, you could follow the example of your predecessor and send to us your best estimate as to when we will reach the debt limit? Can you do that?

Sec. Mnuchin: Again, first of all, thank you for that question, and I’m very familiar with financial markets, which I’ve been involved in for the last 35 years. So I do understand this issue very well. I’ve been very clear on it publicly. I can tell you today the answer to that question.

Rep. Scott: What is that?

Sec. Mnuchin: I am comfortable that we can fund the government through the end of September, that based upon my information at this time, which is subject to change given big moves, but my best judgement right now is through the end of September. Publicly this is not the first time.

Rep. Scott: Thank you, I got your answer, I only have a few minutes and I’ve got to get to this other question. I want you to know that this effort and concern on this committee with President Trump and the Russian connection. There was a movie called ‘The French Connection’ also. 

But I want you to know that Ms. Waters’s bill and her efforts in this are not a democratic position alone. I work with both Democrats and Republicans. I have friends on both sides of the aisle. And it is a growing consensus among Republican Members of Congress that we owe it to the American people to come clean on this. President Trump is not bigger than America. This isn’t about him. It’s about the American people.

I love this country. I was born in the middle of a tobacco field in Aynor, South Carolina. But I made it up to the Wharton School of Finance. And not only that, to serve on the Executive Board of Directors at the University of Pennsylvania, the best school of business and finance in the world. And I did it with helping hands because I come from a poor family.

So I want you to know, and I want this nation to know, that we deserve to know what it is that President Trump is hiding. That he’s willing to turn the federal government, the Justice Department upside down and inside out. It’s not about him anymore. It’s about coming to a sense of confidence and truth that we can restore the respect, the power, and authority of our nation. First to the American people, and to the world.

Sec. Mnuchin: I hope you don’t mind me using just 5 seconds of your time because I do want to acknowledge Mr. Scott, I too share this great love for this country, and it’s extraordinary, your accomplishments, so thank you.

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