Notebook: Peters' debt package gains attention

October 25, 2013

Bills offered by Scott Peters win support from Erskine Bowles and former GOP Sen. Alan SimpsonBy Mark Walker 1:59 P.M.OCT. 25, 2013

PETERS OFFERS WAY TO RESOLVE DEBT CEILING

Rep. Scott Peters has the backing of Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson for a legislative package that would index the nation’s debt to economic growth.

The recently introduced legislation that’s been getting attention in Washington would allow the debt ceiling to rise providing it does not go up faster than the country’s gross domestic product.

The upshot for those weary of protracted fights over the debt ceiling every few months is that the proposal would take Congress out of the equation unless the debt is projected to outpace economic growth. Bowles and Simpson, who chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, support the two-part legislation that stems from an idea they proposed earlier this year.

The package sponsored by the San Diego freshman Democrat include the Protect America’s Credit Act and Pay Down the Debt Act. The latter would require Congress negotiate a budget compromise if the debt rises faster than the national economy.

“The legislation introduced by Representative Peters would not only help avoid the dangerous political brinksmanship surrounding the debt limit, but also establish a mechanism to make sure Congress and the president act in advance of a crisis,” Simpson and Bowles said in a joint statement.

Peters said the package could help avoid another nasty showdown early next year when the Treasury Department’s authority to borrow money expires yet again because of the budget compromise reached earlier this month.

“Right now it is too easy for a small fraction of Congress to put the entire American economy and national employment at risk in order to score political points,” Peters said.See Peters’ congressional website at scottpeters.house.gov for more information on the bills, H.R. 3148 and H.R. 3149.

In other news, an Peters amendment sponsored requiring the Army Corps of Engineers coordinate more closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for information sharing has been approved as part of a larger water resources and development act. The amendment is intended to reduce waste by streamlining communications with local governments and the public rather than having the two act independently when sharing essentially the same information.

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