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

abigbear

AMBER Alert Website Goes Offline Amid Government Shutdown, Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ Website Stays Up
Oct. 6, 2013 9:19pm Oliver Darcy
Government Shutdown

The official website of the AMBER Alert program has been taken offline, due to the federal government shutdown.

“Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs (OJP) website is unavailable,” a message greeting visitors now reads on the website.
AMBER Alert Website Goes Offline Amid Government Shutdown

(Image Source: AmberAlerts.gov)

It was immediately unclear when the website was taken down. However, it should be noted that First Lady Michelle Obama’s website for her “Let’s Move” campaign is still up, running and fully functional.

The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement and broadcasters that issues urgent bulletins following cases of child abductions.

Pterocarya frax...

When you get elected president, you can keep your wife's website "Let's get Fat" site up and running too.

The Big Dog's back

Flip to any news channel in the past three years, and you can almost be certain to see any number of Republican governors, blustering about how Washington spends too much money and how they'd never spend that much money if they were President. It's a lot of tough talk, really. But is there any truth to it?
Well, all of this tough budget talk from Republicans got me thinking about the central: who really benefits from government spending? If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, you might think it was those blue states, packed with damn hippie socialist liberals, sipping their lattes and providing free abortions for bored, horny teenagers.

The truth? Not so fast, Michele Bachmann.

As it turns out, it is red states that are overwhelmingly the Welfare Queen States. Yes, that's right. Red States — the ones governed by folks who think government is too big and spending needs to be cut — are a net drain on the economy, taking in more federal spending than they pay out in federal taxes. They talk a good game, but stick Blue States with the bill.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r...

gramafun

This is all Ted Cruz's fault. He is running Washington. The Tea Party strikes again. It's one more thing and one more thing and they are DUMB enough to think they are winning down there in Washington. This is going to backfire with votes during the next Presidential election to say NOTHING of the next senate and house elections.

With Hillary running during the next Presidential elections, these idiots in Washington better step up their game, stop holding the economy hostage and make nice with an ELECTED PRESIDENT AND ALREADY PASSED LAW before the looming date of the next fiscal vote or we may see worse damage than this country has ever seen. What a mess. The tail is wagging the dog by an insane freshman senator with delusion of grandure. Call the men in the White Coats. Hey Perry....your village idiot is missing and living in Washington.

2cents

Someone has to run Washington, the people elected have screwed it up so bad, giving away everything including this countries ability to steer the world powers for the benefit of good. Oboze needs to go home and let some real business minded people take over!

gramafun

And he should take the Senate and House with him. Perhaps it is time to get rid of ALL the people who have spent too much time in Washington and the new guys who don't know what they are doing. Scrap it all and begin again. I could live with that.

coasterfan

Nope. Obama isn't the problem. The current budget votes are typically (and should still be) a routine vote which keeps the government/system operating. Unfortunately, a few of the people voted in (tea party) have decided to hijack our normal way of doing business. They don't like a particular law of the land, so they have created an artificial impasse.

Perkins2060

Remind me. Didn't your savior Oduma vote against raising the debt ceiling while Senator? What idiot sheeple you dems are.

The Big Dog's back

Politics. There was already enough votes to pass it back then. Moot point.

Perkins2060

That makes it ok then? Sheeple.

Erie County Resident

Obama IS the problem. He is having a temper tantrum like a spoiled brat. You better give me everything I demand or I won't play with you.
Obama and the Demonthugs have shut down everything they can to destroy this country, even thing s that are wide open that had NO barriers.
Let's close off the rivers in Montana to kill off fishing, let's close the OCEAN to kill off anything out there also. What's next block the air so nobody can breath???

The House has passed numerous bills for a budget.
Your Demontugs passed this crap Obamacare law when you had the majority and didn't negotiate with anyone.
To bad you can't stand getting the same tactics used thrown back at you.

The Big Dog's back

When you Teathuglicans get control of all 3 branches then you can change the LAW! Until then go back in your caves.

bobshumway92

HUSSEIN obama is my savior!

coasterfan

Yeah, what is it with Texas? First Bush, then Perry, now Cruz. They seem to champion having a lower than average intelligence. Of course, this is the party that brought us Palin, Bachmann, Cain. If these people are the best your party can find, it's a sign that it's time to find a new party.

OK kids, our country has run effectively for 200+ years on something called MAJORITY RULE. That is, until a minority of like-minded simpletons decided they knew better than the Founding Fathers and all the revered leaders since that time.

Darwin's choice

You're still a political troll.

4shizzle

coasterfan's a smart guy , you're still the idiot , Dummy's choice.

Darwin's choice

azzhat

thinkagain

You have to be an idiot to not admit that spending cuts must be made sooner or later. Why not now and avoid going further into debt?

The Big Dog's back

Cut the military wasteful spending and stop all subsidies to the rich.

4shizzle

Stop the " welfare for the rich" .

coasterfan

I think the real idiots are the party that CREATED the deficit in the first place, via tax cuts for the rich and 2 unfunded wars.

Let's put that in layman's terms: it's like asking your boss for a 50% cut in your paycheck at the same time you use your credit card to build a new swimming pool for your backyard and a vacation in Hawaii.

Then you sell your house, and hand off that multi-trillion dollar credit card bill to the new owner, and then blame HIM for being "fiscally irresponsible", even as he works to slow the damage you caused.

And there we have it, summed up in 2 short paragraphs: a recent history of what actually happened in America 2002 to present.

thinkagain

As your fellow Obamabot is so fond of saying….bullspit!

Just keep blaming your dear leader’s predecessor, instead of focusing on solving the long-term deficit crisis facing the nation.

As this country swirls down the bowl and into history, you’ll still be blaming Bush while yelling spend, spend, spend.

4shizzle

We SHOULD be blaming Bush for borrowing ,borrowing ,borrowing.

donutshopguy

gramafun,

That process you want is called a revolution. It has happened throughout the world since the beginning of time. In most cases, this process is created by leaders not listening or caring to the people they represent. Does that sound familiar?

This country is heading toward this ending or rebirth. The choice of words depends on your outlook. It's not going to be pretty but this evolution is in our future.

The Big Dog's back

The Liberals smacked down the Cons during the Civil War. Might be time to do it again.

Perkins2060

Wasn't Lincoln a Republican?

The Big Dog's back

Lincoln was a Liberal.

Perkins2060

So Lincoln was a democrat? Hmm. News to me.

The Big Dog's back

For those reading comprehension challenged, Lincoln was a Liberal.

The Big Dog's back

Ohhhhh, and Lincoln was from that horrible state of Illinois, you know, where CHICAGO is located.

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