Delaware’s Carper, Coons, Carney: Debt deal far from perfect

All three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation voted to support a bill signed by President Barack Obama Tuesday that increases the debt ceiling and ends the threat of a potentially catastrophic government default.

Obama signed the bill a little more than an hour after the Senate voted final passage. The House passed the bill Monday.

“I have decided to support this compromise, primarily because defaulting is unacceptable,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “It would result in a financial crisis at a time when our economic recovery is already weak.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) joined Carper in approving the historic legislation, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with it.

Carper says more needs to be done to deal with the massive federal deficit.

“We’re settling for a bill that reins in discretionary spending but does little to tackle our long-term financial challenges such as entitlement programs or the 800-pound gorilla in the room – rapidly increasing health care costs,” Carper said. “In short, it’s a deal; it’s not a solution.  It only addresses the symptoms of our nation’s fiscal ailments, specifically the debt ceiling, but fails to cure our serious disease of debt and deficits. It puts off until tomorrow what we should be doing today.”

Obama’s signature caps months of contentious and partisan debate. The compromise bill includes promises of more than $2 trillion of budget cuts over the next decade.

Though not entirely happy with the bill, Coons says getting the deal done was better than the alternative.

“Though it was extremely important to begin the work of reining-in the deficits that threaten America’s long-term security, it was critical that we restored the confidence of the markets and prevented the devastating impacts of default from reaching nearly every American home,” Coons said. “By averting default today, it is my hope that Washington will return its focus to our nation’s economic recovery and getting Americans back to work.”

Without the legislation, the government’s ability to borrow would have run out at midnight.

Carney also said it was not the deal he wanted, but hopes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will agree to make the necessary structural changes.

“There is considerably more work to be done,” he said. “In addition to smart cuts that don’t undermine our economic recovery, generating new revenue through tax reform must be a focus of the joint commission and future negotiations.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.