Transcript: Rep. Xavier Becerra’s press briefing remarks on the debt ceiling & government shutdown – Oct. 15, 2013

Partial transcript of Rep. Xavier Becerra’s (D-California) press briefing remarks on the debt ceiling and government shutdown on Oct. 15, 2013:

We had a pretty thorough discussion right now in our Democratic caucus…where we went through where we stand today.

And while we know that there have been substantial conversations in the Senate, it appears that once again our House Republican colleagues are prepared to put the American economy at risk to advance their political agenda.

They seem to be running contrary to their Republican colleagues in the Senate. They seem to be running contrary to the desires of the American people. And they seem to be running contrary to a good number of their own colleagues in the House of Representatives who have said to their Republican leadership, “Let us not jeopardize the American economy. Let’s not hurt it. Let’s not hurt further American families who have been put out of work as a result of the Republican government shutdown.

And so I think most of us are here to say, “Let us vote. Let us exercise our right as representatives for the people to vote to re-open our government and to not put our American economy at risk for the first time ever the default in payment of our past obligations.”

This reckless approach that House Republicans seem determined to take is putting any number of American families in jeopardy.

I think it’s been made very clear over the course of the last several weeks by economists, by Republican leaders, by regular families – not on Wall Street but on Main Street – that to allow interest rates to rise dramatically simply to fulfill a political agenda would not only harm the economic recovery that we’ve seen where in the last 3.5 years more than 7.5 million jobs have been created but it would put at risk the family that just sent the child to school, paying for that education with student loans. It would put at risk payment of Social Security benefits for those who are now retired and earned those benefits.

And I wanted to bring this – this is 18-years-old. This is a savings bond. It’s a savings bond that my daughter Olivia received when she was born. It was a gift for her. She has not yet cashed it in and it’s a $50 savings bond. This is similar to what Social Security recipients have in the Social Security trust fund, which allows them to get their piece. This is what a lot of Americans have when they have these mutual funds and other accounts where part of the investment is in bonds. This $50 savings bond is being put at risk by the irresponsible and reckless behavior of our House Republican colleagues who are prepared to disregard what seems to be a reasonable approach being taken by the Senate to try to resolve this issue so we don’t for the first time in our history have a default on the payment of our debts and lead to a perhaps a risky – risky next several days – which we’ve never experienced for the American economy.

And so we would urge our Republican colleagues in the House, “Please end your family feuding among Republicans. Please let us vote on a clean bill to re-open our government and to pay our past bills.”

Let’s remember not just the folks on Wall Street; let’s think of the folks on Main Street who depend on these savings bonds. Let’s put our country before our party. And let us move forward together. There are common sense solutions that we could all work on and if we act reasonably we can get this done.

But no one should put their reckless political agenda before the American economy and the American middle-class.


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