Sens. Hoeven and Cramer were popularly elected by the state and swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution…against all enemies, foreign, and domestic;…allegiance to the same; … and to faithfully discharge the duties of the office.” Article 1 of the Constitution enumerates those duties including the explicit responsibility of raising revenue, authorizing and appropriating federal funds and managing the federal debt as well as providing for the general welfare.

These senators voted against an increase of the debt ceiling in spite of their oath and the direct impact on the people of North Dakota. A debt ceiling default and government shutdown would leave over 100,000 retired workers in North Dakota without Social Security benefits. That fiscal tragedy for retirees translates to $183 million per month lost to the state’s economy.

If our senators fail in their duties and vote against a debt ceiling increase in December over 7,000 active military personal, 9,000 federal workers and 1,600 postal workers will be without pay before Christmas. Federal payments to the state for fighting the pandemic including ESSER funding to schools would cease. Benefits to over 49,000 individuals on SNAP would end. Over 46,000 veterans, people who kept their oath to serve, would stop receiving benefits. Child nutrition funding would stop. And the middle class would see their retirement accounts tank under government bonds being downgraded.

Hoeven and Cramer must fulfill their oaths and duties. Congress needs to eliminate the calamitous, senseless artifact of congressional self-harm known as the debt-ceiling.

Katrina Christiansen lives in Jamestown, N.D.

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.