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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs