ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the outlook for US debt amounted to a shot across Washington’s bow, a statement as much about politics as it is about economics.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee said he hopes it will send a signal to Republicans that they can’t threaten not to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
“I think it’s very clear. Don’t play games with the debt ceiling,” said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. “We have to act. We can’t tie it to anything because if our credit goes bad, it has catastrophic implications. Look what happened to the stock market already. And if we continue to try and tread and try to combine it with other things we’re really playing with fire. Don’t do it. That’s my message to the Republicans.”
Levin also attacked House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget, which was approved on a party-line vote in the House last week.
“The Ryan budget is irresponsible. It tries to turn back the clock on 50, 60 years of what made middle-income America in terms of health care, in terms of pensions,” Levin said. “And I think there’s a deep divide. The president made it clear: Do we have one America or many Americas?”
“They want to, they say they’re going to save Medicare. They should be honest. They want to do away with it.”
Asked how compromise can come about with such descriptions of the other side’s proposals, Levin responded:
“I don’t think its heated rhetoric. I think it’s honest rhetoric. I think when they say they want to save Medicare when they want repeal it, and we say no, you’re trying to repeal it and not save it, I don’t think that’s hyperbole. I think that’s honest.”
Levin also indicated that he plans to seek another term in Congress regardless of whether the state’s redistricting process results in the elimination of his district.
“I want to run again, but we have on the agenda much more important things right now,” Levin said.
Watch the full interview with Rep. Sander Levin HERE:
Also today, we talked about the budget fight, recess messaging, and Donald Trump’s possible candidacy with Christina Bellantoni, associate politics editor at CQ Roll Call.
Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE: