Congress Needs to Do Its Job: Pay America's Bills, Put Americans Back to Work

07/27/2011 02:54 pm ET | Updated Sep 26, 2011

Never in our nation's history has our government defaulted on our debts. Through war, Depression, financial crisis and stagflation -- and in periods where the national debt was far higher in relative terms than it is today -- the full faith and credit of America has gone unquestioned.

That proud history may end this week, sending shockwaves through our global economy, all for no good reason. To discredit the president and advance an unpopular anti-tax agenda, Republican members of Congress are threatening a global financial upheaval.

Millions of Americans were thrown out of work because of forces beyond of their control in 2008. It should be unthinkable for any leader to threaten to intentionally revisit that suffering on more Americans for political gain, and yet that is where we are. Families across the country are reeling, and instead of putting partisanship aside to provide the additional stimulus the economy needs, Republicans are doing whatever they can to both shred the safety net and protect tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations. It is a tragic abdication of leadership.

For months, conservatives have stoked panic over a long-term debt problem. This, despite the fact that the debt mounted primarily due to Republican policies -- and that the vilified Affordable Care Act took a major bite out of the long-term debt. Now, they are using the manufactured debt panic to block what should have been a clean and routine vote to pay America's bills. As the president reiterated on Monday night, the consequences of default are dire -- and completely avoidable. Congress should vote to increase the debt ceiling without condition.

The cost of Republican intransigence appears to be a spending-only deficit reduction package that will destroy even more middle-class jobs and possibly reduce retirement benefits to the elderly. This assault on the American Dream has activated thousands of citizens who have voiced their opposition to a spending-only deal in every single congressional district office in the country today.

Across the country, Americans are taking time off of their jobs to demand that leaders in Washington simply do theirs: pay America's bills, put Americans back to work.