Congress raises debt ceiling, moral standards remain low


Written By Dannys Marrero

The political discussion to increase the debt ceiling has been going on since 2014. It’s nothing new, but the establishment finally did something about it – and for the correct reason.

Within the last three weeks, the southern states of the U.S. have been greatly impacted by two major hurricanes, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. These two hurricanes combined took the lives of 150 people and created around one hundred thirty-two billion dollars in damages across many states, according to CNN; which is no small number. This raises the question: how will the government pay for these damages?

When it comes to the federal budget, it is well-known that the two major political parties have very different beliefs on how federal funds should be spent, increasing the level of political polarization in this country. But honestly, it shouldn’t matter what political party you affiliate yourself with because morally, helping those in need is the right thing to do; and the people in these affected states need help, and they need it now.

“Without raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable that we will get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin on Fox News September 3, just a few days after Hurricane Harvey. “That’s our priority. We need to help the people in Texas, and we need to get that done.”

A few days later, the Trump administration released a statement which stated that they wanted federal spending on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts to be tied to raising the debt limit. These people were calling out for help, a feeling I very much know.

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and due to its geographical location, I have witnessed first-hand the effects of many hurricanes of various categories. However, one thing is always the same, it doesn’t matter how strong the storm is because the storm isn’t the hardest part. Recovering from it is, and according to the Treasury Department, without an increase or suspension of the debt limit, they would have lacked legal authority to resume borrowing. In other words, the federal government wouldn’t have been able to help these victims.

But luckily, last week Congress approved a federal budget by a vote of 316 to 90 along with a hurricane relief deal of $15 billion for relief from Hurricane Harvey. Yes, I know $15 billion is nothing against $132 billion, but it’s a step forward for the Republican majority in Congress, excluding the 90 republicans that voted against, as it’s been 9-months since they took office, and nothing helpful had been done.

Even though as of right now, the relief deal is only meant for the Hurricane Harvey victims, the raise of the debt ceiling opens the opportunity for help to be sent to the victims of Hurricane Irma. Usually I wouldn’t have any faith in this administration and the man who runs it, but in this case, I find myself rooting for him.

Hurricane Irma passed north of Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm creating around $800 million in damages, and leaving more than 1 million U.S. citizens without power. Due to Puerto Rico’s territorial status, only a direct order from the commander-in-chief would allow federal funds to relieve the island; an order President Donald Trump made on September 7.

On Thursday, September 14, President Donald Trump visited the west coast of Florida to assess the damages, and both Trump and Pence seem to be heading in the right direction.

According to CNN, the president said his administration is “trying to keep them as happy as we can under the circumstances. In many cases, they’ve lost their homes and it’s a tough situation.”

“We’re with you today. We’re going to be with you tomorrow and we’re going to be with you until Florida rebuilds bigger and better than ever before,” Pence said.

I’m a strong believer that actions speak louder than words, which is why I don’t respect Donald Trump. The inconsiderate way he acts, and the hurtful things he has said make it impossible for him to earn my respect. But I do respect the position of President of the United States, and I feel that even though Donald Trump could never really be a good man, the actions he has taken to help these people surpass this disaster, give me a glimpse of hope that he actually has potential to be a good President of the United States.