07/12/2013 06:21 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2013

Congressman Apparently Set to Risk U.S. Credit Rating Downgrade Again

You may recall that when House Republicans blocked the extension of the U.S. debt ceiling a couple years ago, the stock market went into cardiac arrest and America's credit rating was downgraded.

So are you shocked that Rep. Cory Gardner is on the radio talking about doing it again?

Maybe you're not shocked, but, still, if you presided over a talk-radio show, your brain might tell you to ask a follow-up question when Gardner says he wants to leverage the debt-ceiling extension to push his anti-government agenda.

Gardner told KFTM's John Waters Monday that he sees the upcoming extension of the debt ceiling as an "opportunity to reduce the size and scope of government, and how we can require opportunities to look for savings, look for cuts, and what we're going to do to grow the economy through common sense tax reform. I think there's great opportunities for us to get back on track." (Listen here.)

Gardner is obviously free to push his agenda in Congress, but why not ask him why he doesn't use the budget process for this? That's where debate about these issues is supposed to take place.

Democrats and Republicans have extended the debt ceiling over 100 times since 1940, with little opposition (until 2011). Reagan did it 18 times; G.W. Bush seven.

Unless the debt ceiling is raised, America will not be able to pay interest on loans that have already been made under the assumption that America honors its debts, like any upstanding citizen. This raises the specter of America defaulting on portions of its debt! If congressmen like Gardner raise more doubt about our country's commitment to paying what it owes, you can bet our credit rating will take another hit.

Do we really want to risk another credit downgrade, as well as a stock market collapse, to use the debt ceiling to debate budget issues that are properly addressed elsewhere?

It's a question that Waters should have put to Gardner.