A bipartisan group of former US Treasury secretaries on Wednesday warned congressional leaders that waiting until the last minute to raise the debt ceiling increases the risk of an “accidental default” that would be disastrous for the economy.
“Even a short-lived default could threaten economic growth,” reads the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This creates the risk of upsetting markets and undermining economic confidence, and it would prevent Americans from receiving vital services. It would be very damaging to undermine confidence in the full confidence and credit of the United States, and that damage would be difficult to repair. “
The letter was signed by Henry Paulson, who served under Republican President George W. Bush, as well as four former Treasury secretaries under the Democrats: Michael Blumenthal, Robert Rubin, Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.
“As former Secretaries to the Treasury, we write to express our deep sense of urgency that the leaders of Congress, together with the administration and the President, act quickly to initiate and complete a viable legislative process necessary to increase the debt limit, ”the former officials said.
The letter acknowledges the polarized state of US politics – but stresses that this should not cause the US to default.
“For 232 years, our country has systematically paid all of its bills, in full and on time,” the letter said. “Unwavering solvency has long been a source of strength for our nation, and protecting it is a sacrosanct responsibility. No Congress or President has allowed our country to default.