On September 23, 2013 Senator Bill Nelson of Florida asked for and was granted permission to address the United States Senate regarding the impending government shutdown and the raising of the debt ceiling.
“In the course of the next few weeks it is going to be white-knuckle time. Here, coming up next week, October 1, begins a new fiscal year, of which all appropriations funding of the Government, save for those programs that automatically flow such as Medicare, Social Security–all others will cease to have funding unless we can continue to fund through appropriations bills coming up. That is next week.”
“As you know, there are a number of people on that side of the aisle who are threatening to shut down the government unless they get their way. In this particular case a lot of them in the House of Representatives are saying their way or no way; that they want to defund the implementation of the law that has been in existence for 3 years, setting up a reform of the health care system”, he said.
“But the white knuckles – assuming we can get over that little hurdle -the white knuckles will continue because shortly thereafter we are going to get to the day of reckoning about whether the U.S. Government can pay its bills because of the artificial debt ceiling set in statute that says that above a certain level the U.S. Government cannot borrow any more money. These are obligations that have already been incurred. Just think how many of us own U.S. bonds. A bunch of those bonds are coming due. That is in large part how we finance the debt of the United States, by selling securities with the full faith and credit of the strongest financial government on the face of planet Earth. Therefore, if that debt ceiling, that artificial ceiling set in statute, is not raised, the government cannot go out and borrow any more money–in other words, issuing new bonds. That is when the knuckles completely turn white”, said Senator Nelson (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).