Republicans Guarantee Social Security Checks, Military Pay, Public Debt Payments with Sen. Toomey's bill

Republicans in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives are apparently the only ones in Washington D.C. who want to make sure that senior citizens receive their Social Security checks and to make sure that American military personnel around the world are paid next week.  However, Barack Obama, has repeatedly refused to guarantee that seniors will receive their Social Security checks after his self-imposed debt ceiling deadline, August 2nd, has been breeched.
 
Senator Pat Toomey, R-PA in the United States Senate and Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Congressman Tom McClintock, R-CA in the United States House of Representatives, have legislation  -- see details in attachment above  -- called the "Full Faith and Credit Act," which will ensure seniors get their Social Security checks and will ensure that all military personnel receive their pay. 
 
Additionally, the "Full Faith and Credit Act," when signed into law, will make sure that the principal and interest on the debt held by the public, is also paid by the United States Treasury.  Senator Toomey's bill has 31 co-sponsors who listed below.
 
Key paragraph from Senator Toomey's "Full Faith and Credit Act":

"In the event that the debt of the United States Government reaches the statutory limit as defined in section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, the following shall take priority over all other obligations incurred by the Government of the United States:

  1. The authority of the Department of the Treasury contained in section 3123 of title 31, United States Code, to pay with legal tender the principal and interest on debt held by the public.
  2. The authority of the Commissioner of Social Security to pay monthly old-age, survivors' and disability insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act.
  3. The payment of pay and allowances for members of the Armed Forces on active duty.

 Directly below is an article in today's Allentown (PA) "Morning Call" entitled "Toomey demands Treasury pays debt first."

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Toomey demands Treasury pays debt first

Pa. senator unveils legislation that prioritizes payments if debt ceiling not raised.

WASHINGTON – Pennsylvania's U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey stood center stage at a press conference Tuesday morning backed by close to 20 Republican lawmakers from both the Senate and the House to reiterate his months-long demand that the U.S. Treasury promise to pay its debt first.

Toomey unveiled legislation, which has 31 cosponsors in the Senate, that would require that if Congress cannot reach a deal on raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by the Aug. 2 deadline, then the government would promise to pay its interest on its debt, send out Social Security checks and pay active duty military.

"This administration has persisted in denying that it can or will prioritize payments...," Toomey said. "These are scare tactics meant to intimidate congressional Republicans into voting for the package the administration wants. Frankly, it's irresponsible and it's dangerous. The administration should not be threatening to make the debt ceiling impasse more destructive than it needs to be."

Only a few weeks into his new job Toomey penned an editorial in the Wall Street Journal about prioritizing payments. At that time, Congress was narrowly fixated on whether the federal government would shut down — concerns about hitting the debt limit seemed far in the future. Toomey said then, as he maintains now, that even if the ceiling wasn't immediately raised, there would be enough revenue to at least pay debt obligations and avoid default.

Today, all across the Capitol, GOP lawmakers echo that position. In separate recent interviews, Pennsylvania Congressmen Lou Barletta and Mike Fitzpatrick both mentioned that the nation need not default because President Barack Obama could prioritize debt payments.

Tim Chapman, the COO of Heritage Action, a group that lobbies for conservative policies on Capitol Hill, said when Toomey first started talking about it, people in Washington asked, "What the heck is this all about? It was met with not great fanfare … Now they are taking a second look and saying, 'That guy knew what he was talking about'."

But critics, including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner – who Toomey publicly sparred with on this issue – say so many other federal government programs – education, transportation, veterans benefits, to name a few -- would have to go under funded.

The government will take in a total of $172.4 billion in revenue in August, but its total outlays exceed $306 billion, so there's $134 billion in programs that would go unpaid.

Toomey was asked by a reporter what programs would not get paid. Toomey said it's not specified. After paying the debt obligations and sending out Social Security and military checks, there'd be some money left for some other programs.

Determining what gets paid and what doesn't, Toomey said, "we'd leave to the discretion of the administration for whatever short period of time this would ensue."

A version of this bill was already voted on in the Senate in March, but was voted down along party lines.

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