WASHINGTON – As the federal government remains in a stalemate over a possible default on paying off its debt obligations, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) expressed her concern with New Hampshire business leaders.
Shaheen’s meeting was meant as a way to alert people about the precarious state of negotiations between the White House and Congress over raising the debt ceiling. Throughout the meeting, she gave several references to 2011, when debt ceiling negotiations stalled to the point that the federal government’s credit rating was reduced. However, she noted that her office received far more phone calls during that standoff, and that both chambers of Congress had far stronger majorities.
Shaheen criticized those in Congress who she said openly supported a government default for political reasons, but did not name anyone specifically. She also expressed concern with politicians and others who assume that the situation will be resolved and it can be safely ignored.
Business leaders expressed frustration with entrenched special interests that encourage repeated confrontations such as this one, a concern Shaheen shared.
She said that the debt ceiling, a concept unique to the United States, should be abolished as a concept given the problems it has caused in recent years. She also said that concerns regarding the nation’s budget deficit should also be addressed, but could not be solved within the approximately one to two weeks before it is expected that the federal government will be unable to immediately meet its debt obligations.
Shaheen was pessimistic, and added that if the crisis was not resolved, it would have major implications for the country, domestically and internationally.
“The biggest gift we could give to our adversaries is default on our nation’s debt,” she said.