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New ad targets Steve King for his ‘recklessness’ on debt ceiling

A new television ad begins airing Friday in the Sioux City market that informs those expecting August government checks — Social Security, veteran benefits and military pay — that if the check doesn’t arrive, they should thank U.S. Rep. Steve King.

The piece is being sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Education Association (NEA), and Americans United for Change and is scheduled to run through Monday.

According to the sponsoring groups, earlier this week U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said “a lot” of House Republicans are refusing to compromise on a debt ceiling deal in hopes a resulting economic “chaos” would for Democrats to support a balanced budget amendment. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has stated that such a plan would require more extreme cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs than the budget introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan earlier this year.

Image has not been found. URL: http://media.iowaindependent.com/king_twitter_debt_300.jpg“Congressman King and Republican leaders need to get their priorities straight,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of AFSCME. “They appear willing to throw the economy back into a tail spin and deny Social Security checks to seniors, benefits to veterans and care to sick children — all to save face with their corporate donors. Main Street has had enough.”

Tom McMahon, executive director of Americans United for Change, added that Boehner and Republicans are “more than willing” to default on the nation’s debt and halt checks to seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and military families unless tax breaks for millionaires and oil companies are permanently protected.

“This unprecedented recklessness is a sobering display of tea party governance in action,” he said. “The consequences of Republican-caused default can not be overstated. The business, economic and financial communities warn that default could crash our economy, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and, ironically, would mean hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt and a tax increase on the American people because it would skyrocket interest and mortgage rates.”

In total the groups have created one general ad and eight more calling out specific members of Congress, including King.

“There is a fundamental question before Congress. Will congressional Republicans balance the budget on the backs of those least able to afford additional sacrifice? Will they cater to Wall Street and large corporate interests at the expense of American children, seniors and the middle class? Or will they put partisan politics aside to do what’s right for Americans?”

King, a Kiron Republican who represents a vast swath of western Iowa, held a press conference in mid-July alongside U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Louie Gohmert of Texas as a part of a roll-out of the PROMISES Act — a House Resolution that, if passed, would mandate payment priorities for the White House in a time of default. Specifically, it would require the Obama administration to make payment on debt and pay to active duty military the nation’s priority if all bills could not be met.

King has also gone on national news programs to say that absent a specific direction from Congress, the Obama administration will have the authority to set its own priorities if the debt ceiling is not raised and bills cannot be paid. He noted that the “about $200 billion a month” the government receives as revenue is “plenty more than enough to pay for our military and service our debt.”

“[W]e would hold our full faith in credit together regardless, unless the President has decided to punish America by refusing to pay our bills,” he said, adding a prediction that American voters will “punish the President — not Republicans” if negotiations go south and obligations aren’t met.

If the debt ceiling is not raised by Aug. 3, experts estimate that the federal government will fall roughly $170 billion short of being able to pay its obligations, and while King has attacked Obama for “fear-mongering” about the possibility of reduced or no Social Security checks being issued, he has also offered no plan that would allow for continued full payment of those bills, saying that any Social Security or Medicare disbursements should come after military benefits and debt service. Financial experts have warned that if those to items were paid first, it would be unlikely that the government would have enough money to full fund Social Security, Medicare and other domestic programs.

On the social networking site Twitter, King doubled-down on his preferred payment plan in case of default, saying that “Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments;” essentially mandating that payments to domestic programs be reduced or not paid at all.

“Speaker Boehner and House Republicans want to bring us to brink of financial ruin to protect tax giveaways for corporations and millionaires, while gutting programs that provide vital services for the most vulnerable among us,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU. “As we get dangerously close to defaulting on our debt, there are no more excuses for Members of Congress. Simply put, it’s time to get this done. The stakes are too high to play a partisan game of chicken that could end with disastrous results for working families, seniors, veterans and children. This is both unacceptable and indefensible.”

President Obama has argued privately and before the nation for a compromise that would allow for both revenue increases and budget reductions, prompting the continued stalemate with House Republicans.

Here’s the ad:

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