Sen. Rob Portman is urging President Barack Obama to lay off a White House plan to change the procedure that the federal government uses to raise the debt ceiling.
His letter came after the U.S. Department of Treasury released a blog suggesting changing the current process – which requires Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling – with a process where Congress gains the right to formally “disapprove” of debt ceiling increases but the president has the power to veto that bill and thus extend the government’s borrowing capacity.
Portman, a former Office of Management and Budget director, circulated a letter protesting that idea among his Capitol Hill Republican colleagues Wednesday and planned to send it out at the end of the day.
The Ohio Republican wrote that he believed “that Congress’ power over borrowing, like the power of the purse, is firmly rooted in our constitutional tradition.”
“The founders understood the potential danger of permitting the executive to unilaterally incur new public debt,” he wrote. “Consequently, Article I of the Constitution empowers only Congress ‘to borrow money on the credit of the United States.’ The debt ceiling is the means by which Congress exercises this inherent legislative responsibility.”
Portman pointed out that then-Sen. Obama in 2006 voted against raising the debt ceiling.
“We believe that preserving Congress’ role in setting the debt limit is necessary to encourage deficit reduction and uphold our constitutional tradition of legislative control over borrowing,” he wrote.
Portman’s letter was released the same day that the White House report detailing the impact of letting middle-class tax cuts expire.
That report said that starting Jan. 1, 4.3 million middle-class Ohioans will see their federal income taxes increase, with a typical median-income Ohio family of four – earning $72,800 — seeing its income taxes rise by $2,200 as a result of the expiration of the tax cuts as well as the loss of the expanded child credit and marriage penalty relief.
It also found that 1.2 million low-and moderate-income families in Ohio will lose access to the Child Tax Credit – a loss that will cost them an average of $1,010 a year.
Ohio small businesses, meanwhile, will be only able to claim immediate tax deductions for $25,000 rather than $250,000 of new investment.
The White House also touted their own deficit reduction plan, saying that under Obama’s plan, only families earning more than $250,000 a year will see their tax rates increase – and those wealthiest taxpayers would return to Clinton-era tax rates.
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