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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







ABC News Radio