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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid