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Democratic Senator: Debt Is Going To Make U.S. "Not A First-Tier Nation Anymore"

Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill was speaking in Kansas City as part of her “McCaskill on Main Street” tour on Wednesday.

Posted on March 19, 2014, at 3:25 p.m. ET

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill railed against the national debt, speaking in Kansas City as part of her "McCaskill on Main Street" tour on Wednesday. McCaskill said the debt would "put us in a position where we're not a first-tier nation anymore," calling it "irresponsible."

"I do believe a $17 trillion debt is irresponsible. I do believe that," McCaskill said, while adding that she supported raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance.

McCaskill also spoke about the changes she says she's seen in the influence of the federal government.

"We have ourselves doing things the federal government was never intended to do," she said. "I mean, we weren't supposed to be buying municipal firetrucks at the federal government, we're doing that now. That's not the way our Constitution was designed. We weren't supposed to have the federal government paying for education. We are now doing a lot of that."

McCaskill said if the U.S. continued along current spending lines and got "swallowed up by the debt," the country would no longer be a first-tier nation.

"I do think we have to be careful about making the federal government the answer to everything, because it's gonna put us in a position where we're not a first-tier nation anymore if we get swallowed up by the debt."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.