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JEC Chairman Heinrich on the Imminent Default Crisis

Washington, D.C.—Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen sent a letter to members of Congressional leadership warning that the Treasury Department will be unable to continue to finance the operations of the federal government as early as June 1 if Congress does not act to raise the debt limit. 

We absolutely need to avoid default on our existing obligations – and it needs to happen now.  

It is always appropriate to negotiate over spending levels, and we do that as a part of the appropriations process. But default should never be an option for the United States. It directly hurts American families.  

Last time we went through this, we never got to default, but we still saw interest rates go up and the economy go down. If that happened again it would mean over $50,000 more in mortgage payments for homeowners, $20,000 hits to retirement accounts, and more – effectively creating a tax on all Americans. We need to take default off the table now before costs go up for American families.  

The Default on America Act that House Republicans pushed through isn’t a first step in the process to avoiding default; it’s a non-starter. We do not have time for political games, and we certainly aren’t going to solve higher costs by imposing higher costs - and that’s what House Republicans’ bill would do. Congress needs to be in the business of creating jobs and supporting American families, not cutting jobs and slashing the services we all rely on, from the work of air traffic controllers to the Veterans Health Administration. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop playing politics with our economy and join Democrats in passing a clean debt limit increase that preserves our economic progress.” 


About Chairman Martin Heinrich  
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich has served the people of New Mexico in the United States Senate since 2012. In addition to his role as Chairman-Designate of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Heinrich also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and as a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Heinrich served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, four years as an Albuquerque City Councilor, as New Mexico’s Natural Resources Trustee, and in AmeriCorps with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

About the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee 

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic think tank. It was created when Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946. Under this Act, Congress established two advisory panels: the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and the JEC. Their primary tasks are to review economic conditions and to recommend improvements in economic policy. Chairmanship of the JEC alternates between the Senate and House every Congress.??