If the U.S. Congress hadn't approved the military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan during the Bush presidency there wouldn't be the need to raise the debt ceiling now, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank told CNBC Wednesday.
"I voted against the war in Iraq," said Frank, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. He said he also voted against other Bush-era programs including lowering income tax rates for the wealthy.
"If everyone did as I voted, we wouldn’t have to raise the debt ceiling," he said. "I refuse to be extorted into doing something I don’t want to do."
He fears the Tea Party faction will "intimidate the Republican leadership" into refusing to raise the debt ceiilng, "and the result will be negative economically."
He refuses to vote for any measure that touches the federal Medicare program unless there are first massive cuts in U.S. military spending.
"The U.S. is grossly overextended in the way it subsidizes military efforts," he said. "It's wasteful, expensive and does no good."
He said the U.S. is spending billions of dollars on "useless" operations including "defending West Germany against a nonexistent Soviet threat" and other nations, including the UK, have been cutting their military budgets, expecting the US to pick up the slack.
"I’m not prepared to deny medical care to older Americans who have worked all their lives...to subsidize the military budgets of other countries," he said.