Rep. Conyers: ‘The Debt Is Not Endangering Us a Bit … We Don't Think There's a Problem’

By Jon Street | March 14, 2013 | 6:29pm EDT

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. (AP)

( – Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee,  said on Thursday that the nation’s current debt of $16.7 trillion is “not endangering” the country,  adding that “some debt is not a bad idea” and that he and other congressional Democrats “don’t think there’s a problem.”

Conyers and other liberal Democrats spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference about their initiative to compel Congress to cancel the across-the-board budget cuts (sequester) of  $1.2 trillion over 10 years, which actually are reductions in the rate of increase in federal spending and amount to $44 billion for this year.

The sequestration reductions were triggered by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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At the event, asked Conyers, “Republicans say if we don’t make cuts to reduce the deficit soon that sequester cuts will actually be small compared with cuts we would need to make if we continue on this track [of spending]. Meanwhile, Leader Pelosi has said she doesn’t think that we have a spending problem and the White House has recently said that we shouldn’t balance the budget just for the sake of balancing the budget. That said, by canceling sequester would we then be manufacturing a larger crisis in the future and, if so, how would you justify those more severe cuts to the American people?”

Conyers said, “Let me let you understand, first of all, that the debt is not endangering us a bit -- not at all. Our economists say we’re in debt but it’s not endangering everything. As a matter of fact, there are economists that say some debt is not a bad idea at all.”

“So all those ideas about the ceiling falling, the walls caving in because of that, you can sleep more comfortably in your bed at night when you realize that we don’t think there’s a problem,” he said.

Conyers introduced the “Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013,” on March 6 in an effort to reverse sequester cuts, which amount to 1.2 percent ($44 billion) of the federal budget this year, and started to go into effect on Mar. 1.

The federal budget deficit for the last four fiscal years has not fallen below $1 trillion. The total national debt currently is $16,700,634,854,470.52. It was $10.6 trillion when Barack Obama became president in January 2009.

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