July 13, 2011 - 1:04 pm

BY WESLEY P. HESTER

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine is asking Republican opponent George Allen and others in the 2012 race to back the business community and join him in calling on Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Citing a letter to the president and congress in which business leaders called for an increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit to avoid potentially catastrophic results, Kaine called on leaders to stop posturing.

“No one better understands the risks associated with default than America’s business leaders,” Kaine said. “In already uncertain economic times, the last thing corporations need is Republicans in Washington playing politics with our credit rating. Make no mistake — using the debt ceiling for political leverage is bad for business.”

Kaine, a fomer governor and Democratic National Committee chairman, stressed that any increase is not about new borrowing, but meeting current obligations.  

“America always meets its obligations,” he said.

Allen campaign spokesman Bill Riggs said it was “ironic that Chairman Kaine suggests he’s on the side of business leaders,” saying that Kaine had refused to condemn the National Labor Relations Board for suing Boeing over its decision to move a plant from Washington state to South Carolina, claiming it was retaliation against the company’s union force. 

Kaine has said he continues to support Virginia’s right-to-work laws.

"George Allen has called for a balanced budget amendment and ironclad spending cuts because he wants a long term solution, not another Washington band aid that leads to more debt ceiling votes down the road," Riggs said. "Virginia business leaders know Chairman Kaine will be Senator for his Washington Allies, George Allen will be Senator for Virginia."

Allen recently signed the “cut, cap and balance” pledge, a promise not to raise the nation’s borrowing limit unless accompanied by substantial spending cuts, future spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.

Allen did, however, support four increases in the debt limit while in Congress. When he lost his senate seat to Jim Webb in 2006, the nation’s debt was just more than $8 trillion.