Iowa Senator Tom Harkin just had his weeklong vacation canceled and he doesn’t sound optimistic about why he’ll be heading back to Washington D.C. Senate leaders want to tackle legislation designed to raise the debt ceiling and cut the nation’s deficit so they’ve called off the scheduled recess the week of July 4th.
Harkin, a Democrat, is uncertain it’ll be time well spent at the U.S. Capitol. “It remains to be seen,” Harkin says. “We just found out about that actually just this morning. A lot of this is just politics, one might say image, politics, optics, that kind of thing.”
Federal officials say the U.S. government will run out of money on August 2nd and immediate action is needed to raise the country’s legal borrowing limit beyond $14.3 trillion.
Harkin fears the canceling of next week’s recess may be long on symbolism and short on substance. He’ll still have Monday, July 4th, off. “I guess we’re going to come back late Tuesday and have a vote — on something, who knows what? — and then we’ll be in Wednesday and Thursday, probably won’t be in Friday, so we’ll only be in two days next week,” Harkin says.
“If we can get some work done, we should be here, but if it’s just because of optics, that’s ridiculous. I don’t mind one way of the other. I’m just saying if we’re going to be here, we ought to do something.”
Republicans say any effort to raise the debt ceiling must be offset by deep spending cuts, while Democrats are offering opposing measures they say would boost revenue. Without a raising of the debt ceiling, some fear the nation could be facing a depression.