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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora