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Ways and Means Approves Plan to Avoid Default and Protect Seniors, Military Families, and Veterans in Government Spending Decisions

March 09, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08), favorably reported out the Default Prevention Act, which would prevent defaulting on our debt, along with an important amendment by Chairman Smith that protects seniors and requires the Biden Administration to put America’s veterans, military families, and national defense first. To ensure the Biden Administration is carrying out the will of Congress, the bill establishes specific areas of government spending that should be at the bottom of the Administration’s spending priority list.

ONE-PAGER: H.R. 187: The Default Prevention Act

Click here to watch Chairman Smith’s opening statement.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) said in his opening statement: “This legislation allows us to remove the politics and fearmongering that often clouds these debates. And it allows us to get on with the work to address America’s debt limit and rein in the reckless spending that threatens our country’s fiscal well-being and that of the American people. Working families are struggling right now because of the inflationary spending policies of the past two years. They need relief while we address our nation’s debt limit.”

“This bill ensures the Biden Administration will focus first and foremost on protecting those serving in uniform and veterans’ benefits. Our veterans who have fought to protect this country and those who wear the uniform today must be a priority.

Lastly, this bill tells the Administration that certain areas of spending should be sent to the back of the line. It prohibits the Treasury from paying items such as congressional pay, White House pay, government travel and so on unless all other obligations of the federal government have already been met. Just like regular Americans, the President and Congress shouldn’t get paid until the job is done.”


H.R. 187 – The Default Prevention Act as amended protects America’s credit and seniors while prioritizing America’s military, families, and national security by:

  • Temporarily allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to issue additional debt obligations to pay the principal and interest on the public debt as well as Medicare and Social Security benefits.
  • Requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to cover the cost of veterans programs, military pay and family benefits, and Department of Defense operations before any other obligation.
  • Prohibits the Treasury from paying the following unless all other obligations of the federal government have already been met:
  • Executive Branch pay (including for the President and Vice President);
  • Payment for government travel;
  • Compensation for official union time; and,
  • Pay for Members of Congress.

Read the bill text here.