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Politics & Government

Sen. Coons explains the hectic week in Congress over infrastructre, the debt limit

Coons_outside.jpg
Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

Congress is trying to manage several major bills all at the same time this week.

 

Lawmakers were already trying to get President Biden’s infrastructure funding passed, but now the threat of the country defaulting on its debt only adds more to the mix.

 

Democratic senators have been blocked by their Republican counterparts in their attempt to pass a bill funding the government, at least temporarily, while also raising the country’s borrowing limit.

 

Sen. Chris Coons says if that debt limit isn’t raised, it will have disastrous effects on the world economy.

 

“You’d see an increase in car loans, credit card rates,” Coons said. “Borrowing would cost more for everybody and we’d see a loss of a significant number of companies and jobs. That’s why it’s so urgent we actually get this done, and it’s why I’m optimistic that in the end we will get it done.”

 

Coons says Republicans are  playing chicken with the nation’s debt, and it’s irresponsible to toy with something that could have such drastic outcomes for everyday Americans.

 

Coons wants to get this funding completed so lawmakers can put their attention back on infrastructure, where Democrats are still trying to negotiate terms to get a large social spending package passed.

 

Witnessing the impact of gun violence in Wilmington and other parts of Delaware, Coons also introduced a bill this week to provide greater mental health support.

 

Coons says communities nationwide don’t have the resources to help people affected by gun violence.

 

“School guidance counselors, school health clinics will often have 100 or 200 students per professional,” said Coons. “And community health centers often don’t have mental health professionals available.”

 

The PATHS act, or Preventing and Addressing Trauma with Health Services, provides $100 million in funding annually to community mental health resources nationwide, allowing them to serve more people.

 

Coons says Delaware is already on the right track, with the passage of HB 100, creating mental health services in all Delaware elementary schools.

 

This federal money would complement those services, and help organizations outside of school.

 

Coons hopes he can get this funding attached to one of a couple budget bills being considered in Congress this week.

 

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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