Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) spoke before the Financial Services Roundtable, a group representing 100 of the nation’s largest financial institutions, before joining them in ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.    Rep. Engel discussed the current debt ceiling and budget negotiations taking place in Washington.

“For 40 years, NASDAQ has been a key component to our nation’s economic engine, and influential worldwide.  The 3,000 company listings represent the largest trading volume in the world.  Here, at the capital of the financial world, there is genuine worry that Washington will default on its obligations. That is why I believe the debt ceiling must be raised without pre-conditions, independent to any important long-term budget negotiations.  As we have witnessed on Wall Street, the consequences of just the threat of default are devastating to our economy, and the reality of default could be catastrophic, here and across the world.  Cooler heads must prevail, as failure to raise the debt ceiling would be catastrophic to the American people, American business, and the global economy as a whole.”

Full text of Rep. Engel’s speech to the Financial Services Roundtable at NASDAQ is included below.


I want to thank NASDAQ for having me here today.  It will be a great honor to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ exchange.  For 40years, NASDAQ has played such a vital role in the economic engine of both the United States, and the world – not to mention the great state of New York.  With 3,000 company listings, you have more trading volume than any other stock exchange in the world.  Well known for being a high-tech exchange, your ability to invest and create markets for the innovations of tomorrow speaks for itself.

Now more than ever, we must work together to create jobs and to make sure our American companies are competitive in the global economy.  That is why I support a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit, so American businesses and research institutions can innovate without being hindered by an uncertain tax code.

Much attention has been paid in recent days, and appropriately so, on the need to raise the debt ceiling.  We must raise it with without pre-conditions.  During the past administration, we raised the ceiling seven times without pre-conditions – and we should do so again.  I caution against playing politics with an economy that is slowly recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. 

Holding the debt ceiling hostage will have disastrous consequences for our economy.  Business access to credit will be curtailed, or significantly more expensive as rates rise.  Many individuals who have their retirements and pensions tied to the stock market will see their nest eggs wiped out.  None of this is good for future economic growth and opportunity.  This is a message I continue to take to Leadership in Congress and to the President.  A failure to raise the debt ceiling is not good for American citizens, nor American business.

As a member of the New Democrats Caucus, a group of pro-business Democrats, I know how important it is to foster an environment which allows business to flourish.  I know we can be true partners as we continue the hard work of putting America on a firm road to economic recovery, strengthening American business and creating jobs.

Again, it is such an honor to be here.  I look forward to working in partnership with you in the years to come for the benefit of our country and of the great state of New York.