Chuck Grassley, on the floor of the Senate:
Mr. GRASSLEY: Mr. President, the current law is that we have a statutory limit on the amount of money the Federal Government can borrow, and that has to be reconsidered from time to time. The legal limit applies to the money borrowed from individuals, private investors–such as banks and pension funds–as well as money borrowed from other governmental programs that are in surplus–such as Social Security and Medicare, or what we call intergovernmental borrowing.
Increasing the debt limit is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States of America. Without an increase in this limit , our Government will face a choice between breaking the law by exceeding the legal limit or breaking faith with the investors by defaulting on debt . Neither of those choices is acceptable, and we have never done them.
Critics sometimes object to raising the debt limit on grounds that it will allow the Government to borrow more money, but refusing to raise the debt limit is akin to refusing to pay your individual credit card bill after you have already gone shopping and bought something. We cannot pass tax bills and spending bills and then refuse to pay our bills. The time to control the debt is when we are voting on bills that actually create that debt .
Raising the debt limit is about meeting the obligations we have already incurred, it is that simple. We must meet our obligations. So I urge my colleagues to support this increase.
That was Sept. 27, 2007, but the principle is, of course, no different now than it was then.