Barletta moves to protect Social Security, Medicare, military pay if debt limit reached

Jul 18, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON– U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, PA-11, has cosponsored a bill that will make sure Social Security, Medicare, and military pay and benefits will not be interrupted if the national debt ceiling is reached.

Rep. Barletta signed on to the Prioritize Spending Act (H.R. 2402), will require the Treasury to pay specific accounts until an agreement on the debt limit is approved and initiated. Those “must-be-paid” accounts protect the country’s primary financial obligations – national defense and America’s seniors. The Prioritize Spending Act will provide uninterrupted pay for servicemen and servicewomen and national security personnel, for Social Security payments, and for Medicare payments.

“The Prioritize Spending Act will make sure that seniors, soldiers, and those who protect this country will be paid before government contractors and federal bureaucrats. Even if we do hit our national debt limit, the Treasury still takes in an average of about $185 billion per month, and that’s more than enough to pay our seniors, pay our soldiers, and pay our creditors,” Rep. Barletta said. “Right now, the president is the one who decides what gets paid and what does not if revenues are limited. This bill would set our national spending priorities so our seniors and our national defense requirements are met, regardless of political games in Washington. The president would not be able to spend any federal money until those priorities are met.”

On July 12, President Obama told a national television reporter that he cannot guarantee that certain federal benefit checks – including soldier pay and Social Security and Medicare benefits – will go out as planned next month if Democrats and Republicans fail to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

“This bill does not change my stance on raising our national debt limit. This bill simply guarantees that our brave servicemen and servicewomen and our seniors will still receive their benefits, regardless of how politicians in Washington treat the debt limit,” Rep. Barletta added. “Any increase in the debt limit must be tied to serious and substantial spending cuts in the trillions of dollars. Raising taxes is not an option I would consider.”

Rep. Barletta also joined dozens of his colleagues in signing a letter to President Obama demanding that the president commit to sending the Social Security, Medicare, and military paychecks in the event the debt limit is breached.