For months now, America -- and the world -- has anxiously watched as a manufactured crisis unfolds in Washington. The crisis has all the drama of a high stakes poker game, taking our nation closer to the brink of a national default. This may make for good television, but the stakes are far too high, and the buildup is eerily reminiscent of the financial collapse of 2008. For the sake of the nation, it's time for Washington to put politics aside and work together to address the debt, create jobs and protect the American dream.
Americans worry most about their lack of work. When family members gather around the kitchen table at night, all too many agonize about whether they will have a job tomorrow, and how they'll make their mortgage and pay their bills. The last thing Americans need is another burden on their shoulders. This is why we should put an immediate end to the bickering, pass an increase to the debt ceiling and then immediately refocus our attention on job creation. It is our moral responsibility as lawmakers to stay at the negotiating table until we address these challenges.
Over 20 years ago, President Reagan said: "The full consequences of a default - or even the serious prospect of default - by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar." That's why presidents and Congress have always acted responsibly and raised the debt ceiling when necessary to pay America's debts, including seven times under President George W. Bush and 17 times under President Reagan.
President Obama has demonstrated a sincere willingness to compromise by bringing Republicans and Democrats to the table, even when his own party thought he was going too far and giving away too much. The President did what he believes is in the best interest of the American people. Like his predecessors before him, he understands the vital necessity of raising the debt ceiling.
Failing a "grand deal," Congress should immediately pass a clean increase of the debt ceiling to pay our bills. The vote would ensure that our nation pays its obligations -- giving Americans and investors the confidence that the full faith and credit of the United States still means something. But more importantly, it would provide the President and the Congress an opportunity to truly focus its attention on job creation and reigning in our long term debt.
We all understand that our nation's long-term debt must be addressed in order to retain stability in our financial markets and our household economies. That's why Democrats have offered up serious proposals that include trillions of dollars in strategic cuts, but also provide for the revenues we'll need to invest in the future. The Republican plan to simply "cut our way to prosperity," will not work.
Democrats have a plan to create a cutting-edge economy that works for everyone and puts America ahead of the competition. We want to grow innovation to jumpstart new industries like clean energy; rebuild economic infrastructure like roads, bridges and ports; and provide education and job training to help middle class people get good jobs. It is time for true leadership on jobs.
As leaders, we owe it to the American people to end the political posturing, address the crisis facing our nation, and then remain at the negotiating table to focus on the top priorities for American families: jobs and fiscal security. In doing so, we will relieve countless households of the heavy burden of unemployment, and finally restore dignity to the American people and to ourselves.