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Thursday
Jul142011

Mitt Romney Breaks Silence on Debt Ceiling

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(PORTSMOUTH, N.H.) -- It didn’t take long for Mitt Romney to field a question on the debt ceiling negotiations Thursday during an event at the Portsmouth Rotary Club in New Hampshire.

After Romney’s opening remarks -- and promising the audience that he wasn’t going to “be the cure to their insomnia” -- he took questions from the audience.

The first one asked what he would do regarding the debt ceiling if he were president.

“The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending and cap federal spending and put into place a balanced budget amendment,” said Romney. “That for me is the line in the sand.

“It is within the president’s power to say to the leadership in the House and the Senate that 'I’ll cut spending, I’ll cap the amount of spending, and I’ll pursue a balanced budget amendment.' And if the president were to do that, this whole debt limit problem goes away,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul132011

Bachmann on Debt Limit: Obama 'Holding…the Country Hostage'

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of "holding the full faith and credit" of the country hostage over the debt limit increase, and helped introduce a legislative contingency plan if the country’s top-ranked leaders are unable to reach an agreement to raise the statutory debt ceiling.

"President Obama is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so that he can continue his spending spree," the Minnesota congresswoman said. "We’re saying, 'President Obama, is your spending spree really that important to you that you would put at risk the full faith and credit of the United States? We’re unwilling to do that.'"

Bachmann is co-sponsoring new legislation with GOP Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas that would prioritize federal spending in the event that congressional leaders do not strike a deal to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2.

The trio says that the Payment Reliability for our Obligations to Military and Investors to Secure Essential Stability Act, known as the PROMISES Act, would first prioritize the payment of active duty military salaries and, secondly, authorize the Treasury Department to pay principal and interest on debt held by the public.

“What this bill does is it guarantees that we set a priority to pay our debts and bills,” King said, adding that the trio’s priorities would consume about 15.2 percent of revenue. “There’s still a lot of money left over for the president’s discretion to play political games, but let’s not do so with our military and let’s not let our national -- the full faith and credit of the United States go to pot at the expense of political leverage.”

Bachmann was in campaign form on Capitol Hill, reminding reporters that she has been meeting with real Americans from important presidential primary and caucus states that are early on the 2012 calendar.

“The economy is tanking,” Bachmann said. “This is Washington. We’re all in a bubble here. I’m spending my time in Iowa, and South Carolina, and New Hampshire, and where the real world is. The real world is telling all of the politicians, 'Get your act together, stop being political, stop playing with us. We're not pawns in your game.'"

The PROMISES Act also contains a provision that ensures that members of the Armed Forces are paid without interruption in the event that the government faces a funding gap.

Bachmann has consistently downplayed the potential for catastrophe if a deal to increase the debt limit is not reached, and said she intends to vote against authorizing an increase.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May202011

Sen. Coburn on Debt Outlook: ‘I Would Downgrade Us in a Minute’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If Sen. Tom Coburn was working for one of the credit-rating agencies, his take on the U.S. debt outlook is clear.

"I would downgrade us in a minute," Coburn, R-Okla., told ABC News in an interview featured on Top Line Friday. "Yeah, I would -- knowing what I know."

He also said rating agencies such as Standard & Poor's were too generous to the U.S. economy during the last fiscal crisis.

"I would tell you there's a basis on which a lawsuit could be filed against S&P, based on what S&P's evaluations were during the last financial crisis, and hold them accountable in terms of what the real numbers look like for our country."

Coburn also said he's not ready to give up on bipartisan budget talks developing into a consensus, though he walked away from the "Gang of Six" negotiations this week.

He suggested that he may support an agreement that includes new revenues: "The fact is we're at the lowest tax rate this country's been in a hundred years," Coburn said.

And Coburn took a swipe at American for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist, who has blasted Coburn for raising the possibility of supporting higher taxes.

"People like him -- who are a lobbyist -- have to use hyperbole to justify their positions. Right? I don't care what he says -- he's like a fly on the wall," Coburn said. "If you’re scared of Grover Norquist you have no business being up here."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May192011

Delaware Senator on Debt Ceiling: What Are Republicans Smoking?

Office of Sen. Tom Carper(WASHINGTON) -- With the nation blowing past its debt limit this week, some Republican lawmakers are suggesting that it might behoove the United States to keep it in place -- even if that means defaulting on the nation's debt.

Not everyone on Capitol Hill agrees. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., speaking to ABC News on Thursday, was asked about a comment by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that defaulting on the debt could benefit the nation "in the short and long term" because it "forces politicians to make decisions."

Carper, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, responded bluntly to  ABC News. "When I hear people say stuff like that, I wonder what they're smoking. And it’s not something that's legal -- well, it could be."

"What would happen is the folks who lend us money from around the world and from this country are going to ask for more money. They're going to ask for a lot more money. In order to finance and refinance our debt, it'll cost us hundreds of billions of dollars. And we've got to be smarter than to see that happen."

Carper said he thinks Congress will wind up approving a small debt increase, or more than one small increase, as talks continue around a long-term budget deal that the White House can sign off on.

"Ultimately we would use the vote on raising the deficit ceiling to drive a deal on a long-term deficit-reduction deal -- something in the neighborhood of $4 trillion over 10 years," he said. "Finally, hopefully before Christmas, before Thanksgiving, before Halloween, we'll be able to come up with a deal that focuses on spending, does at least $4 trillion over 10 years. Maybe two-thirds on the spending side."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May162011

Debt Limit Maxed Out, Lawmakers Hold Firm on Remedy

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As the United States maxed out on its statutory debt limit Monday, House Speaker John Boehner is sticking to the Republican position against a tax increase while calling on President Obama and Congressional Democrats to come up with an amicable plan that cuts a greater value than any increase to the country’s credit card.

"Americans understand we simply can't keep spending money we don't have. Spending-driven deficits, record debt, and the threat of tax hikes are smothering our economy with uncertainty and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Monday afternoon. "There will be no debt limit increase without serious budget reforms and significant spending cuts -- cuts that are greater than any increase in the debt limit."

Boehner noted that the Republicans' "Path to Prosperity" budget resolution has already passed a House vote and predicted it would "put us on a path to balance the budget and pay down our debt, spur job growth, and save programs like Medicare for current retirees and future generations."

Last Friday, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees announced the country's benefit programs for the elderly will be exhausted sooner than expected due to the economic downturn.

On Monday, Boehner said that as Baby Boomers begin to retire, it's "an urgent reminder that we need to act now to protect those in or near retirement and save these programs for future generations."

"Half-measures and gimmicks won't get the job done, and tax hikes will only hurt job creation and do more damage to our economy," Boehner stated. "We've taken action; now it's time for Senate Democrats and President Obama to put forward a serious plan of their own."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio