Today, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joined their Senate colleagues in urging President Barack Obama to retract a White House proposal to change the procedure the federal government uses to raise the debt ceiling. The letter was written in response to a U.S. Department of Treasury suggestion to replace the current process â" which requires Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling â" with a process in which Congress may "disapprove" of debt-ceiling increases but the president has the power to veto that bill and thus extend the government's borrowing capacity as he wishes.
The letter opposing this proposal was signed by 43 senators, eliminating the possibility of Treasury's plan passing the Senate.
"Congress's power over borrowing, like the power of the purse, is firmly rooted in our constitutional tradition," the senators wrote. "The Founders understood the potential danger of permitting the Executive to unilaterally incur new public debtâ|Nearly every significant deficit reduction law of the past 27 years has been linked to a debt limit debate. For Congress to surrender its control over the debt limit would be to permanently surrender what has long provided the best opportunity to enact bipartisan deficit reduction legislation."
Joining Chambliss and Isakson in signing the letter are Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R-MA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John Thune (R-SD), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The text of the letter is below, and a signed copy of the letter is available here.