From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) issued the following statement on her vote to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default and downgrade:
“Through serious negotiation, leaders from both parties and the President have reached a bipartisan solution that will lift our debt ceiling and prevent a downgrade of our credit.
“Make no mistake. This agreement is stark and stern but necessary. It includes cuts that I would have never voted for under different circumstances. However, if we had failed to take action, the economy of the United States would have been irrevocably fractured.
“While it’s far from perfect, the agreement meets my principles for avoiding default and downgrade. It provides a long-term extension of the debt ceiling, a significant down-payment on cuts, and a path forward to reform tax earmarks and entitlements.
“A default and downgrade would lead to sky-high interest rates that would have created a new tax on every single American. The economy would be further weakened, and it would be a self-inflicted wound. I cannot allow this to happen.
“I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. The 14th Amendment says that the validity of America’s debt must not be questioned. While the lawyers made the interpretation complicated, the framers made it simple. America pays its debt with no exceptions. Failure to reach an agreement would be a violation of trust to the American people and our creditors. And it would violate my oath to the Constitution.
“America must meet its obligations to its creditors. We must also meet our obligations to each other. Throughout this debate, I have insisted on no benefit cuts to soldiers, seniors and veterans and will continue to do so. Obligations made must be obligations kept.
“I will also fight to fulfill our obligations to the next generation who will lead us through the 21st Century. We need to rebuild roads, bridges and increase access to broadband to create jobs and rebuild our economy. We need to invest in higher education, science, research and technology that lead to jobs of the future. We can’t afford not to make these investments.
“After wrenching analysis, I will vote in favor of this bipartisan agreement because it is an achievable and pragmatic solution to the crisis that would be caused by inaction. It will require tough action and strong medicine down the road, but it is necessary to honor our obligations to our creditors and to ourselves.”