Himes pushes for vote to raise the federal debt limit

Congressman Jim Himes, who represents part of Shelton, is calling for a vote to raise the federal debt ceiling.

“Once again, political posturing has prevented Congress from acting on a common-sense measure that has broad bipartisan support,” Himes, a three-term Democrat from Greenwich, said in a statement on Friday.

“We have known for months that the Treasury would hit the debt limit in February, but the Tea Party extremists in the House are once again holding our nation’s full faith and credit hostage to a yet-to-be determined demand,” he said.

Borrowing limit reached Friday

The federal government is expected to reach the debt limit — or the end of its borrowing authority — today, Feb. 7, but the U.S. Treasury Department can resort to “extraordinary measures” to prevent a default on the debt for the next few weeks.

The national debt now is more than $17 trillion, and is projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to increase to more than $21 trillion in the next decade.

Some Republicans have pushed for certain concessions to approve a debt limit increase, such as spending cuts or restrictions on the future growth of federal spending.

‘Bipartisan progress ... squandered’

“It’s disappointing to see the bipartisan progress we have made this year squandered, especially just as we’ve reached a five-year low in unemployment claims,” said Himes, who is expected to support raising the debt limit.

“I urge House leadership to allow an up or down vote on a clean debt limit increase when we return to session next week,” he said.

Himes represents the Fourth District, which includes most of Fairfield County, including much of Shelton. Part of Shelton also is in the Third District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro.