Entries in Debt Celing (3)


House Set to Reject Debt Ceiling Hike Dems Dismiss as 'Political Charade'

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives is set to reject a vote to increase the statutory debt limit in a move being chastised by Democrats as “a political charade,” “political cover” and “political theatre.”

Later Tuesday evening, the House will bring a measure to the floor stating that “the Congress finds that the President’s budget proposal, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, necessitates an increase in the statutory debt limit of $2,406,000,000,000,” raising the debt limit to $16.7 trillion.

Republicans have explained the reason for Tuesday’s vote by repeatedly highlighting Democratic calls for a clean vote to increase the debt limit, including more than 100 House Democrats who signed onto a letter penned by Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., demanding a clean vote.

But Tuesday the House’s No. 2 Democrat, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, told reporters that he will encourage his Democratic colleagues to either vote against the increase or vote “present” to avoid gifting Republicans with political ammunition in upcoming campaign advertisements leading into the 2012 election.

“I don’t intend to advise that my members subject themselves to a political 30-second ad and attack. This matter is a tough issue because the American public does not want to see the debt limit raised because they believe that it will simply provide for further borrowing as opposed to paying off the debts that we have already incurred,” Hoyer, D-Md., said. “If the Republicans were prepared to work on a bipartisan basis on this issue, which is the only way we really do very tough things that are controversial, then I would be prepared to urge at least half of my members to support the extension of the debt limit -- including myself. But my advice to them [today] will be not to play this political charade.”

The debt limit was maxed out May 16, leading the Treasury Department to borrow from federal retirement funds while a deal is worked out between the White House and Congress. That move, however, only buys negotiators until Aug. 2 before those funds dry up.

Republicans have scheduled the vote for Tuesday night even though Boehner has long maintained that any increase to the debt limit must be accompanied by an equal or greater value in spending cuts. So Tuesday evening’s vote on a “clean” or “straight up or down” vote with no amendments and no framework to reduce spending has no chance of passing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Raising the Debt Ceiling: President Obama vs. Senator Obama

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In March 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., found the notion of raising the debt ceiling quite distasteful.

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” he said. “It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies....Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

He did, and it passed narrowly by a vote of 52-48.

In January, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about those comments and that vote, given the president’s belief that the debt ceiling needs to be raised in May. Gibbs said it was okay for then-Sen. Obama to have cast that vote, since the outcome was guaranteed.

“Based on the outcome of that vote…the full faith and credit was not in doubt,” Gibbs said. Then-Sen. Obama used the vote “to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline....His vote was not necessarily needed on that.”

On Sunday, senior White House adviser David Plouffe revised that explanation, telling Fox News Sunday that the president "believes that vote was a mistake."

And on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that “the president, as David Plouffe said yesterday, regrets that vote and thinks it was a mistake. He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration's policies, you can play around with, and you need to take very seriously the need to raise the debt limit so that the full faith and credit of the United States government is maintained around the globe.”

Referencing Gibbs’s response three months ago, Carney said, “[President Obama] made clear that he now believes it was a mistake. And he understands that when you're in the legislature, when you're in the Senate, you want to make clear your position if you don't agree with the policies of the administration.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Goolsbee Warns Tea Party: Don't 'Play Chicken' With Debt Ceiling Vote

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's top economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, warned Sunday against "playing chicken" with raising the country's debt ceiling, saying it would cause "a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008."

"This is not a game. The debt ceiling is not something to toy with," said Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in an interview with ABC’s This Week.

"If we hit the debt ceiling, that's ... essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history," he said. "The impact on the economy would be catastrophic."

Congress raised the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion last February, but the federal debt is now at $13.9 trillion, meaning the ceiling will need to be raised again this spring to avoid pushing the country into default.

Some conservatives in Congress, especially new Tea Party members, have said they will vote against raising the debt limit again, saying government should drastically cut spending instead. Incoming Republican House Speaker John Boehner has said he will work to convince new members to vote to raise the limit, saying it will be "the first really big adult moment" for the new Republican majority.

Goolsbee said Obama will propose "tough choices" on tackling the nation's spending and deficit problems in his soon-to-be released budget for the next fiscal year.

After more than two years of economic turmoil, 2010 ended with glimmers of positive news for the economy. Holiday sales were up 5.5 percent over 2009, beating expectations. Stocks were also headed in the right direction, with the Dow ending the year up 11 percent and the Nasdaq almost 17 percent. But the unemployment rate has remained stuck at 9.8 percent, only slightly better than it was at this time last year.

"Coming out of the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, it's always a messy, bumpy road to get out of that," Goolsbee said. "You're starting to see encouraging signs, I'd say.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio