News / USA

House Speaker Boehner: US Will Not Default on Debt

Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner (File Photo)
Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner (File Photo)
Cindy Saine

The speaker of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, has said that the United States will not default on its debt, but that the Obama administration must cut government spending. Experts say the U.S. government's debt limit could be reached as soon as March 31, and Congress must vote to approve raising the debt ceiling in order for the United States to take on more debt.

Republicans swept last November’s mid-term elections nationwide with promises to crack down on federal government spending in order to reduce the spiraling national debt.  Some fiscally-conservative Tea Party Republican lawmakers have threatened to vote against raising the U.S. debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion when that limit is reached. Experts say that will likely happen sometime between late March and mid-May.

But in an interview with Fox News Sunday the new Republican House speaker, John Boehner, said a U.S. default on its financial obligations would be a disaster and is "not even on the table." "That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy.  Remember, the American people on election-day said ‘we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs.’  And you can't create jobs if you default on the federal debt," he said.

Echoing other Republican lawmakers, Speaker Boehner made clear that Democratic President Barack Obama must be willing to make significant cuts to the federal budget. "And if the president is going to ask us to increase the debt limit, then he's going to have to be willing to cut up the credit cards.  We have got to work together, by listening to the American people, and reducing these obligations that we have," he said.

Boehner said the House Appropriations Committee will come up with targeted budget cuts in a proposal set to come to the House floor around mid-February.  Last week, the House voted on a non-binding measure to cut government spending by 20 percent to 2008 levels.

President Obama has not called for such large budget cuts, but has called for a five-year freeze on non-discretionary government spending (government spending that is required by law).  In his State of the Union address last week, the president said there will have to be cuts in some areas, but also called for government investment in education, innovation and infrastructure to keep the U.S. competitive on the world market.

New White House Chief of Staff William Daley told CBS News’s Face the Nation that even talk of a default on U.S. financial obligations could scare investors in government bonds and the stock market. "No one wants the government to go into default.  We have seen governments around the world go into default, and considering we are just beginning to come out of this great recession we were in, any thought, any concept of trying to use the debt ceiling as some sort of threat or leverage will run the possibility of spooking the markets," he said.

Benton Ives of Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call says there is widespread agreement among economists that a showdown on the debt ceiling would be bad for the economy.

"Given the concern that it could cause, you know a, for example, rapid decline in the Dow Industrial Average, and the resulting losses for stockholders, the political leadership of the Republican Party has no interest in seeing that happen. So he really has got to start digging his heels in and trying to convince some of his members, including a lot of these new freshman Tea Partiers  that this is not the kind of brinksmanship that is going to be good for the party long term," he said.

Apart from a vote on raising the debt ceiling, Congress will also have to pass a budget to fund the federal government for the current fiscal year by March 4 - another opportunity for either  compromise or a showdown between Democrats and Republicans on government spending.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid