Protestors rally outside Andy Harris' Bel Air office against a potential default on national debt
May 25—A rally was held Wednesday outside U.S. Rep. Andy Harris' office in Bel Air to protest potential cuts to federal programs such as Medicaid and public education, as Congress attempts to negotiate a debt ceiling increase.
Congressional Republicans want to roll back government spending, while Democrats do not, amid an approaching June 1 deadline to strike a deal. That's the date the U.S. Treasury said the federal government will risk being no longer able to pay its bills, according to The Associated Press.
Failure to raise the nation's debt ceiling, now at $31 trillion, would risk federal default on the country's financial obligations and potentially affect the economy both at home and abroad.
The rally was organized by Indivisible Towson, a chapter of the progressive nonprofit Indivisible Project. Other groups participated in the event including Progressive Harford County, Together We Will Harford County and the Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club.
Progressive Harford County said that the rally was to show people that they should oppose cuts to programs such as Medicaid and public education, and that there should be a clean debt ceiling increase.
A crowd of about two dozen protestors stood on each side of Churchville Road holding signs reading slogans such as "Andy Harris: Default is Your Fault!"
Tom Glancy, an administrator for Indivisible Towson, said that a default on the debt ceiling would have drastic consequences.
"The debt limit crisis can be avoided if we just pass a clean debt ceiling bill," Glancy said.
Zack Frink, the founder of Progressive Harford County, said Harris and other congressional Republicans shouldn't be playing politics with people's livelihoods.
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"They're trying to default on the nation's debts and send us into financial crisis," Frink said.
Frink said raising the debt ceiling wouldn't increase the federal deficit, but rather, allow the government to pay its bills.
A statement from Harris' office provided to The Aegis, in response to the rally, said: "It would be irresponsible, and the majority of Americans agree, to raise the debt ceiling without controlling the runaway wasteful federal spending that is causing harmful inflation."
Jean Salvatore, a rally attendee and previous candidate for Harford County Council, said she fears for the United States' standing in the world if the country defaults on the debt.
"We're a rich country; we need to do better," Salvatore said. "If we need to tax wealthy people more, I say go for it."
Salvatore said she believes a majority of people in the country, and a majority of people in Harford County, wouldn't want a default on the debt.
"We want Andy Harris to tell us why he is standing for defaulting," she said. "And we want to explain to him why that's wrong."