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

shucks

Darwin can fix your hemorrhoids.

http://www.demotivationalposters...

EZOB

It's really sad that a lot of people can not or will not interpret the speach on Nov. 3, 2006 of then Senator, Barack O'Bama. What he said was mostly true and now he has done a complete 180 degrees, "Drink the Kool-Aid". If you Left-Wingers would have listened to Mitt Romney you would have seen what was coming. Big business is exempt for another year. I wonder what would have happened if they would have said every one must sign up but middle class caucasions are exempt for another year. I'd sure bet you would here all kinds of discrimination. Those that say ACA is law, where does it say anyone is exempt? Good for One, Good for All.

OSUBuckeye59

Are you saying because then freshman Obama thought this (to not increase the debt limit ceiling) was a good idea it is obviously a good idea? You think that the GOP is just inspired by his young, naive example?

AJ Oliver

The righties spewed the same sort of hysteria when social security and medicare were enacted. But back then they never threatened to blow up the economy if their demands were not met. This is unprecedented.

KURTje

How much longer before the GOP'ers are obsolete

EZOB

Not much longer if you ever read anything about Saul Alinsky. If the GOP fails, the weak boned Democrats will soon follow and you'll have Your Communist State and Government.

KURTje

E-z don't be so old & grouchy. Breathe in - breathe out.

grumpy

Don't try to point out the shortcomings of the dumb and dumber parties. The sheepole in them don't like it when you point out they are being led by their snouts. See how kURTje is trying to sooth out what is happening. he likes the sheepole being led about. On horses it is called wearing blinders. It makes the horses easier to control.

EZOB

GRUMPY,
Use to won a few horses, Blinders and Hopples. I'm not making anything up, just stating facts on what I have read and O'Bama has studied. People "Stare" at this guy in awe and don't listen to a word He says. All you have to do is have the ability to absorb what He says and you'll know the full plan is laid out.

KURTje

Stated it here before Obama got elected. Wars cost major$$. We are out of Iraq. Most of the 3/25th Marines in Brookpark,Ohio voted for Obama. McClain had no timeline on Iraq. Obama did. Can you imagine what the cost for US would if were still there? Sadly Reagan's/Wilson's mess still lives.

grumpy

" Wars cost major$$. We are out of Iraq."
And in Afganastan, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and ...

Facts are hard to hide from...

We were promised to be out in less than a year... 5+ years ago.... But I guess that doesn't count, when you suck up to the dumb and/or dumber party.

EZOB

grumpy,
All I can say is "WOW". We just lost how many troops in Falujah? Yep, we're out. I was just with a lot of Marines at the Mid-East conference Wall in Ottowa, Illinois. Believe me, they didn't vote for O'Bama. I believe statistics show that the Marines in Cleveland voted for O'Bama and their dead grandparents also. Hey, Guantanimo is also closed, right? And by the way, Wasn't that Romney that just ran against O'Bama?

KURTje

I know you guys are old so I'll explain it again slow. See if you were there & did something...opps. Maybe you liked Josh Mandel too. A couple of Generals voiced their valid opinion about him also. Or maybe you thought W actually served.

grumpy

No matter how slow you say it when what you say isn't true it doesn't make you smarter. You were impressed when obama set a timeline for pulling out of Iraq and Affganistan... then didn't follow it. made promises he didn't keep outright lied about his healthcare plan's cost, coverage, ability to keep your present plan, keep your doctor... I could go on but is there really any need to? He has fallen short on all those promises and more. Since I voted for neither McCain nor Romney, what you think they would or would not do doesn't matter, we have to deal with the mistake we have in office.

Dr. Information

Iraq pullout was set in place by Bush.

EZOB

Dr. Information,
When are you people with "Tunnel Vision" going to get away from blaming Bush. O'Bama is in charge and He hasn't had any problem changing anything He chooses. If you want the troops puuled out may I suggest You bring it to O'Bama's attention because He "IS" the current man in charge. Just in case you haven't been keeping up, we haven't heard much about pulling out of anyplace. In fact we are becoming more involved in other countries and Gitmo is still open. It costs $4.00 a day to feed our troops there and $14.00 to feed the Muslim prisoners.

shucks

Bush said the wars in afgahnistan and Iraq were " Mission Accomplished ", or have you overlooked that ?

OSUBuckeye59

A good friend of mine posted the following on Facebook:

"Last night we had a family meeting.

You see, we had all decided to go on vacation to Hawaii, even though I thought that doing so would ruin our family financially, but I was out voted. So I let them all know that while I wasn't going back on my vote, I was going to withhold any funds I had committed to provide until we voted on several other items of concern to me. Of course everyone was totally chill with that because it is fair and within “the rules” and my cause supersedes all else.

We also decided the best way to balance our family budget was to raise how much we were allowed to spend every year, even though we will not be taking in anymore money and are in so much debt my calculator can’t handle the number due to its enormity.

Additionally we decided to not pay for police, fire, and ambulance services; however, we will continue to pay our share of money which is returned to ourselves in the way of income because we think our family is essential and cutting off emergency services will serve as a reminder to everyone how essential we really are and the services we provide, even though there are only a few places anyone is actually noticing our absence.

Lastly, even though we aren't paying for emergency services we are going to pay policemen to deny access to our lawn.

Of course by now you have all figured out this is impossible because there is no family or entity on earth that could be this stupid...Is there?"

EZOB

4shizzle,
To correct you, that was after Iraq and you say? Again, I fully understand and do you remember? You people are like those suffering Alzheimers. You can remember 5-10 years ago but have little knowledge of the broken promises of the last 5 years. Whenever I say something negative about O'Bama the left always responds he is our President and was re-elected. Well, Guess what, quit reffering to Bush as our last elected President, The last elected President BEFORE O'Bama took office in 2013 was, You guessed it, O'Bama. If you want to put any blame prior to the catastrophy we are experiencing at this time, blame the last President, O'Bama.

shucks

You people are like those suffering with silly thinking.

Bush was before Obama.
Bush did a lot of damage that will take a long time to clean up -- like the BP oil spill.
If you think Obama could clean up Bush's big mess in short time -- well, you really don't understand what's going on.

KURTje

shizza they never did their time

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