Thank you for contacting me regarding the debt ceiling; the federal government's legal limit on borrowing. As Florida's junior Senator, it is my priority to help stabilize our economy, increase the availability of jobs, and attract investment to promote the growth of business. In order to reach these goals, our debt must be reduced significantly and we must avoid short-term fixes that threaten the long-term fiscal health of our nation. For these reasons, I did not vote for the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Budget Control Act was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama on August 2nd, 2011. The Act raises the debt ceiling in two separate increments; an immediate increase of $400 billion, and a likely increase at a later date of $500 billion. It also puts into place a process for potential future debt ceiling increases. Unfortunately, the debt ceiling increases contained within the Budget Control Act were not accompanied by significant long-term reforms to our spending problem. The plan Washington approved still adds more than $7 trillion to our national debt over the next 10 years. In an op-ed I wrote for the Wall Street Journal in March, I said I would not vote to raise the debt limit unless it was accompanied by serious reform along with assurances that this would be the last time we ever voted to raise our debt ceiling. These reforms would include a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, cuts to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Budget Control Act also fails to address entitlement programs, which are the biggest long-term drivers of our debt. These programs must be reformed in order to be sustainable for future generations. I am committed to fulfilling the promise of retirement security. Any changes I would support would not affect those in or near retirement. These people would stay in the current system and receive the benefits they have earned. Our fiscal problems today are due to decades of profligate spending by both parties. We have a job-crushing debt because Washington has repeatedly postponed the tough decisions for someone else to deal with down the road. The American people have every reason to be disappointed by Washington politicians who either don't understand the seriousness of our fiscal crisis, or who are simply not willing to confront this challenge. By simply voting to raise the debt ceiling without implementing serious long-term reforms, Congress has made a decision that will drive us further into debt. I thank you again for your input and will keep your thoughts in mind should another vote regarding the debt ceiling arise.