Boehner: US on path to default

2013-10-06 22:31
Republican John Boehner of Ohio, pauses during a meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (File, AP)

Republican John Boehner of Ohio, pauses during a meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Republican House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Sunday not to raise the US debt ceiling without a "serious conversation" about what is driving the debt, while Democrats said it was irresponsible and reckless to raise the possibility of a US default.

"The nation's credit is at risk because of the administration's refusal to sit down and have a conversation," Boehner told ABC's This Week, adding that there were not enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass a "clean" debt limit bill, without any conditions attached.

Asked if that meant the United States was headed towards a default if President Barack Obama does not negotiate, Boehner said: "That's the path we're on."

Boehner's comments appeared to mark an escalation since earlier in the week when he was reported to have told Republicans privately that he would bring a vote to the floor on a clean debt limit bill if necessary to avoid a default.

Republicans and Democrats also traded blame for a shutdown that has brought much of the government to a standstill for nearly a week.

With no end in sight, the battle over funding the government looks like it will merge with the one over the debt ceiling, which must be raised by 17 October to avoid default.

Republicans are seeking concessions in exchange for raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit.

If the borrowing cap is not increased, the United States could go into default, with what officials and economists say would be seriously damaging consequences for the US and global economies.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned of serious consequences "if we were to have the unthinkable happen, to have the United States default".

"It is irresponsible and it is reckless to take that chance, which is why Congress needs to act," he told Fox News.

Pressed on Obama's vow not to negotiate over the debt limit, Lew said: "The president has always been looking for a way to negotiate, to find that reasonable middle ground, with a bipartisan group of members and senators to do the right thing for the American people"

"He put out a budget that actually took an enormous step to do that. So the president is open to negotiation. The question about the debt limit is different."

Senator Ted Cruz, who has been the standard-bearer for Republican opposition to funding the government without measures to undercut Obama's landmark 2010 healthcare reform, also known as Obamacare, told CNN that Congress frequently in the past had attached curbs on spending to votes to raise the debt ceiling.

On this occasion, he said, Republicans were looking for three things before raising the debt ceiling: a significant structural plan to reduce government spending, no new taxes, and measures to "mitigate the harm from Obamacare".

Democrats vow not to negotiate on the funding bill or the debt ceiling, arguing that it is the job of Congress to pay its bills.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer told ABC's This Week he did not believe Boehner would let the nation go into default, as it would lead to chaos on financial markets, freeze lines of credit and cause a jump in interest rates.

"I believe Speaker Boehner will not do that when push comes to shove," Schumer said, adding that Boehner and Republicans would be forced "sooner or later" to stand up to the "hard right" in their party and give in. "They will have to back off."

Obama and the Democrats say bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling could be resolved quickly if Boehner permitted votes on simple, no-strings-attached measures in the Republican-controlled House.

Asked about reports that around 20 House Republicans have said they would join some 200 Democrats in voting for such a bill - enough to pass it - Boehner told ABC that there were not enough votes in the chamber to pass such a bill.

Republicans have demanded that Democrats agree to delay implementation of Obamacare as part of any spending bill.

The law aims to provide health insurance to millions of Americans without coverage. Republicans argue it is a massive government intrusion into private medicine that will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket, put people out of work and eventually lead to socialized medicine.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  john boehner  |  us  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.