Boehner to Obama: No debt hike without concessions

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns that Congress is "playing with fire"
Associated Press
Oct 6, 2013

The United States moved closer to the possibility of the first-ever default on the government's debt Sunday as Speaker John Boehner adamantly ruled out a House vote on a straightforward bill to boost the borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama.

With no resolution in sight, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that Congress is "playing with fire" as he called on lawmakers to quickly pass legislation re-opening the government and a measure increasing the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit.

The government shutdown precipitated by the budget brinkmanship entered its sixth day with hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed, national parks closed and an array of government services on hold.

Lew said Obama has not changed his opposition to coupling a bill to re-open the government and raise the borrowing authority with Republican demands for changes in the 3-year-old health care law and spending cuts.

Boehner insisted that Obama must negotiate if the president wants to end the shutdown and avert a default that could trigger a financial crisis and recession that would echo the events of 2008 or worse. The 2008 financial crisis pushed the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," the Ohio Republican said in a television interview. "I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."

Boehner also said he lacks the votes "to pass a clean CR," or continuing resolution, a reference to the temporary spending bill without conditions that would keep the government operating. Democrats argue that their 200 members in the House plus close to two dozen pragmatic Republicans would back a so-called clean bill if Boehner just allowed a vote, but he remains hamstrung by his tea party-strong GOP caucus.

"Let me issue him a friendly challenge. Put it on the floor Monday or Tuesday. I would bet there are the votes to pass it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

In a series of Sunday television appearances, Lew warned that on Oct. 17, when he exhausts the bookkeeping maneuvers he has been using to keep borrowing, the threat of default would be imminent.

"I'm telling you that on the 17th, we run out of the ability to borrow, and Congress is playing with fire," Lew said.

Lew said that while Treasury expects to have $30 billion of cash on hand on Oct. 17, that money will be quickly exhausted in paying incoming bills given that the government's payments can run up to $60 billion on a single day.

Treasury issued a report on Thursday detailing in stark terms what could happen if the government actually defaulted on its obligations to service the national debt.

"A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic," the Treasury report said. "Credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world."

Private economists generally agree that a default on the U.S. debt would be extremely harmful, especially if the impasse was not resolved quickly.

"If they don't pay on the debt, that would cost us for generations to come," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. He said a debt default would be a "cataclysmic" event that would roil financial markets in the United States and around the world.

Zandi said that holders of U.S. Treasury bonds would demand higher interest rates which would cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in higher interest payments in coming years on the national debt.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a force in pushing Republicans to link changes to the health care law in exchange for keeping the government running, spelled out his conditions for raising the borrowing authority.

"We should look for three things. No. 1, we should look for some significant structural plan to reduce government spending. No. 2, we should avoid new taxes. And No. 3, we should look for ways to mitigate the harms from 'Obamacare,'" Cruz said, describing the debt ceiling issue as one of the "best leverage the Congress has to rein in the executive."

Some Republicans, such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa, dismiss the warnings about a government default as an exaggeration, suggesting U.S. credit won't collapse and calling the talk "a lot of false demagoguery."

Asked how the standoff might end, Boehner said Sunday on ABC that he was uncertain: "If I knew, I'd tell you."

The Ohio Republican added that Obama can call him any time to start negotiations to end the shutdown. "He knows what my phone number is," Boehner said.

Privately, administration officials say they don't think Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell want a default as they realize it will be far worse than a shutdown, but the two don't know how to avoid it or when to try.

In one promising development, a large chunk of the furloughed federal work force is headed back to the Pentagon on Monday, and those who remain at home or are working without paychecks are a step closer to getting back pay once the partial government shutdown ends.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ended the argument for most Pentagon civilian employees, ordering nearly all 350,000 back on the job. Hagel said he based his decision on a Pentagon interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

The Senate will try to vote this week on a bill that passed the House unanimously on Saturday to pay federal workers for days missed.

Boehner and Schumer were interviewed on ABC's "This Week," and Lew and Cruz on CNN's "State of the Union." Lew also appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," ''Fox News Sunday" and NBC's "Meet the Press."

 

Comments

bondgirlM

Now Boehner stand firm.

Darwin's choice

Here's something interesting for the resident cheerleaders, Coasterfan,Big Dog, Deertracker,shizzle.....
An open letter to President Obama from Matt Walsh..

October 3, 2013

"Dear President Obama,
You strike me as the sort of man who spends a lot of time staring at his own reflection. I wonder, what do you see when you gaze so admiringly at yourself? What image do you find in that mirror of yours? Let me guess: a graceful Greek god with a golden crown, draped in luxurious robes, perched on a giant, magnificent throne atop a mountain in the sky? You see a throng of angels singing your praises and masses of subservient peasants prostrated before you, trembling with fear and awe? You see a man who is more than a man, and a president who transcends the presidency; you see a historic figure of immortal importance?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I can’t blame you, Mr. President. By all accounts, you’ve always been an arrogant, haughty narcissist — and that was before you became president. Your supporters and your enemies may argue over whether you descended from heaven on the back of a Pegasus, or were birthed from the bowels of Hell to bring about a Biblical apocalypse, but they both agree on one thing: you are a figure of great significance and immense power. You are either the anti-Christ or the Second Coming, with no room for anything in-between. Surely, this talk might cause even a humble man to slip into a state of vanity and pride, so I can only imagine what it must do to a man such as yourself, already so aloof and so conceited.

That’s why I’m writing this letter. My impression of you is quite different, and it has only been solidified by your performance during this shutdown/Obamacare debate. I find you to be a very small man, Mr. President. Far from larger than life, you are petty, frivolous, pathetic; sneering and pompous but also trifling and narrow. I don’t mean to dismiss or underestimate the damage you have done to this nation — it has certainly been profound and lasting — but I want you to know that your legacy will not be one of grandeur and brilliance; it will be the legacy of a shameless, desperate bully. Both your opponents and your proponents hoist you up as a world leader with a grand vision, whether benevolent or malevolent. I, on the other hand, believe you have the vision of a temperamental two year old. You simply want to feel like you’re in control; you want to “win,” you want everybody in the room to pay attention to you, and you’ll stomp your feet and whine until you get your way. You govern like a coddled toddler; it’s inappropriate to pejoratively refer to you as a “dictator,” but only because it lends you a certain unwarranted credibility. I think you wish to be a dictator, but instead you’re just a bumbling bureaucrat; easily replaced and even more easily forgotten. You have the ethics of Genghis Khan, but the leadership skills of Michael Scott. This is why we are forced to witness the spectacle of, for instance, our president brazenly threatening to invade another nation for no reason, only to clumsily abandon the idea after being publicly spanked by Putin.
Your legacy, Mr. President, will be defined by small, shameful things, as your presidency has been primarily a succession of small, shameful things. The platitudes you spouted during your campaign — the theatrics, the pomp, the hype — have all faded. Replaced by the scheming partisan machinations that have come to define your tenure.
Every president has a moment that encapsulates their time in office; your moment, Mr. President, happened this week. Sure, future generations will look at you with mockery and scorn because of bigger scandals — Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservatives, Obamacare, the birth control mandate and your attacks on religious liberty, spying on journalists, arming terrorists overseas, Fast and Furious, the green energy scams, the bailouts, your support for infanticide, the billions you’ve given to the abortion industry, your cowardice in refusing to address the Gosnell murders, your reckless exploitation of the Zimmerman trial, the out of control deficit spending, your refusal to enforce immigration laws, the massive expansion of the Welfare State, the lies, the broken promises, etc — but I think, in an understated way, what you’ve done this week is a better microcosm of your entire reign.

I’m not just referring to the fact that you are peddling the lie that “Republicans” have “shutdown the government,” when, in fact, they have attempted to pass several bills that would fund the government. Mr. President, you tell these fables to the trained seals in the media and your voting base, but you know damn well that any American with a capacity for critical thought will roundly reject this absurd narrative. YOU have chosen to “shut down” the government because you have made Obamacare the ultimate priority. You have said, “Obamacare or nothing,” and then accused Republicans of being the “hostage takers.” They are holding the government hostage by trying to fund it? What a silly idea. But then, you are a silly, ridiculous president. Speaking of which, this takes us right to your defining moment: barricading memorials and monuments in a ploy to win an argument.

Comparatively insignificant when stacked up against your war crimes and constitutional infringements, but it is nonetheless an apt illustration. The Lincoln Memorial is just a giant statue. There isn’t any reason why people shouldn’t be able to look at a statue during a government shutdown. In past shutdowns, the memorials were open, with only the information centers closing down. The Lincoln Memorial has never been completely closed off from the public until now. You have decided to spend money to block and guard open-air monuments, when it would be cheaper, require less staff, and be less onerous to simply leave them be. Is this some sort of bizarre punitive measure against the American taxpayer?
Infamously, you even attempted to stop WW2 veterans from visiting the WW2 memorial. That memorial is mostly privately funded, and is open 24 hours a day. You SPENT MONEY to physically guard the monument from a group of elderly war veterans. This is truly unprecedented. We have had horrible presidents in the past, but none quite so shallow, cheap and contemptible. You tried to close down Mt. Vernon, which is privately funded, but had to settle for closing its parking lot — even though the parking lot requires no immediate on-going maintenance or surveillance from any federal workers. Did you have to shut down the Normandy cemetery and memorial? Are we saving money that way? I doubt it.
It’s the same game you played during the sequester, and it comes as no surprise to those of us who pay attention (which means it came as a surprise to a large number of people). Rather than leading like a statesman, you hide in the shadows; scheming, conniving, exploiting. You emerge only to make hyper-partisan speeches, with rhetoric best left to Democratic talking heads on afternoon cable news shows. Far from being a “new kind of politician” (as you were advertised), you are the most political politician this country has ever seen. You are political to your core, in your essence, at an atomic level, and so you are unable to offer any direction or clarity when the nation needs it most. Sometimes, Mr. President, the affairs of this nation require a man, not a politician, and it is during those times that you are especially useless. You don’t have any interest in fixing our present crisis because you’re too busy finding ways to keep a busload of 90 year old war veterans from looking at a memorial.

Closing down parks, monuments and memorials just to score political points is hardly your most insidious deed, but it’s certainly one of your pettiest. That’s why it stands, ironically, as a monument of its own. If we ever build a statue of you, Mr. President, you won’t be triumphantly holding a flaming torch like Lady Liberty, or standing authoritatively with a look of determination, like the MLK memorial. No, it will be a statue of you pulling the wings off of a fly, or spitting in someone’s orange juice. It will show you in your essence, as monuments are meant to do. It will show you as a petulant, skulking, juvenile bully. It will show you as you are.

And we’ll make sure it’s always open, especially during a government shut down.
Sincerely,
Matt Walsh"
__________________

shucks

You are an idiot ,Darwin's anus.

Fromthe419

Matt Walsh went to the top of the NSA watch list, took balls to right no matter if it is a D or R in the Whitehouse.

Julie R.

Boehner says: "It's our HOUSE and we can do what we want in it."

Bunch of idiots.

coasterfan

I say let them commit political suicide. In 2014, voters will remember which ones sided with Ted Cruz.

Perkins2060

Yes we will! Obamacare sucks!

deertracker

Yet you probably think the ACA is great!

Perkins2060

Quit watching Jimmy Kimmel you moron. All I saw on there were democrat sheeple.

coasterfan

Actually, I don't think the ACA is great. I just think it's the first good attempt to address the situation, and by that, I mean it's better than anything the GOP enacted: nothing.

Re: Jimmy Kimmel: I've actually never seen the show. I take it you like the show, and recommend I watch it?

Gotta love when a conservative calls a Democrat a moron. The GOP is the anti-education party, denigrating colleges and teachers, and much of their membership distrusts anyone with advanced education. Many are also anti-science, and deny the existence of climate change and evolution.
Yet, they think Dems are the dumb ones. That's the GOP for you: they're only funny when they don't intend to be...

shucks

good analysis

Darwin's choice

Here you go....better read up shizzle!....you too, Dog..!

"I was laughing at Republicans..until the mail came, I want affordable healthcare for everyone, but I didn't expect to have to pay for it...."

http://www.mercurynews.com/natio...

MiddleRight

Who is standing firm?
Fifty-seven House Democrats have broken ranks with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer to vote with Republicans to fund parts of the government like veterans programs, national parks and the National Institutes of Health. Sixteen of those Democrats voted for all six targeted appropriations bills, introduced at the behest of House Speaker John Boehner, including measures to fund the National Guard and Reserve, NIH, national parks, the District of Columbia and two separate votes for veterans programs. (The House of Representatives voted twice to restore funding for veterans programs, once Oct. 1 and a second time Oct. 3.)

The Park Service appears to be closing streets on mere whim and caprice. The rangers even closed the parking lot at Mount Vernon, where the plantation home of George Washington is a favorite tourist destination. That was after they barred the new World War II Memorial on the Mall to veterans of World War II. But the government does not own Mount Vernon; it is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The ladies bought it years ago to preserve it as a national memorial. The feds closed access to the parking lots this week, even though the lots are jointly owned with the Mount Vernon ladies. The rangers are from the government, and they’re only here to help. “It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

One side is trying to get things moving, the other is making things as difficult as possible for taxpayers.

coasterfan

Yeah. I wish the Republicans wouldn't have created this stalemate, either.

Darwin's choice

Troll

There you go again

And what do you suggest about our $17 trillion debt? Should we just allow Obama to double it? How about just them him triple it? That should make him happy. Our children are smart enough to figure out a plan to pay it off.......

KURTje

Meanwhile at the Sandusky Yacht Club the GOP women are.....

grumpy

having a party you can buy a ticket to.

grumpy

having a party you can buy a ticket to.

2cents

Yep, and we pay for Obozo to go golfing in the middle of this shutdown on a federal golf course that is not shut down? Your nutzzzzz!

deertracker

Your point?

MiddleRight

Point is, he doesn't care when this ends.

2cents

He just is a cry baby, he wants his way and will have nothing else. Something the vast majority of citizens do not want shoved on them, his changing the darn thing with no approval as he chooses. Only a dictator operates in this manor!

Yellow Snow

Ohio's "stand your ground"

Really are you ...

"Boehner insisted that Obama must negotiate." Last year didn't Boehner say that his party did not compromise? Negotiating and compromising are pretty much the same thing, right? The way I see it, if congress sends the United States into default, they all should be fired. Fired for not doing their jobs, negotiating, compromising, and passing a budget or laws with the United States in their best interest. If not have a law drawn up for penalties to be imposed on them for the next time.

be for real

The whole thing doesn't make sense.We are in dept so far and yet we send all that money over seas instead of paying our bills.Stop the foreign aid,and the waste of money in the government starting with them on obamacare and see how long it lasts

bondgirlM

Boehner and the Republicans are the only ones that have negotiated with Obama since he came into power. That's why he keeps throwing ugly Tantrums when he doesn't get his way. Ask the Ladies of Mt. Vernon LOL

coasterfan

Oh, baloney. The ACA is law, having been passed by all 3 branches of the government. Congress passed it 3 years ago. The GOP doesn't negotiate, and the reason we are at the current stalemate is that Obama finally decided to play the game exactly the way the House GOP does.

Seriously, half of the Republican party is in disagreement with Cruz and the teaparty anarchists. Obama isn't the problem here.

Darwin's choice

It's the law, so, you political troll , signed up yet for this wonder of a law? It's so full of hole's even you won't put all your information on the site! And, what about those 3/4 of the population that you've said support this? More lies and blathering from the head troll. Liar!!

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