House Speaker John Boehner said on Monday that 'there's a chance' a vote to raise the debt limit beyond $14.3 trillion may not happen if President Barack Obama 'doesn't get serious' about handling the nation's fiscal problems.
Boehner also called on Obama to cut spending and change the way we spend the people's money, according to an interview with Politico.
The U.S. would reach the limit by May 16 and that extraordinary measures could be taken to borrow within the limit by July 8, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a letter on April 4.
At that point the Treasury would have no remaining borrowing authority, Geithner said, noting that the U.S. would not have enough cash to meet our commitments securely.
The longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations, Geithner said.
In a previous letter on January 6, Geithner told Reid that never in our history has Congress failed to increase the debt limit when necessary. Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States. Default would effectively impose a significant and long-lasting tax on all Americans and all American businesses and could lead to the loss of millions of American jobs. Even a very short-term or limited default would have catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades. Failure to increase the limit would be deeply irresponsible.
Boehner's said Tuesday said the U.S. was facing a fiscal nightmare.
If the president doesn't get serious about the need to address our fiscal nightmare, yeah, there's a chance it [the debt limit vote] could not happen, Boehner told Politico in an interview. But that's not my goal.
The President has convened talks starting in May between top negotiators in the House of Representatives and Senate to discuss how raise address the nation's long term deficits.
Republicans want a commitment from the Administration to reduce government spending dramatically. So far, the Administration and Republicans are far apart on spending cuts. House Republicans recently passed a 2012 budget that calls for $5.8 trillion in spending reductions over the next 10 years. Senate Democrats, who control the Senate, are in line with a proposal from Obama which calls for $2 trillion in cuts over 12 years.
Both proposals envision the same general size of deficit cuts. Under the Republican plan, federal deficits would fall $4.4 trillion over 12 years, while the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years. Obama has said that the debate is in how to reach those deficit cuts. Obama has called for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans to help reduce the deficit.
Obama has already proposed some slowing in the rate of growth of Defense spending and said he is exploring ways to find more savings in the Defense budget. Obama is also seeking savings in the Medicare and Medicaid health programs. Republicans are seeking big reforms in those programs to reduce spending, which the President has said he will reject.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, who is expected to announce he will formally explore the possibility of running for U.S. President in the 2012 election, said in an interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel that not even a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution - which Congress and U.S. States would need to pass 5 or 10 years from now - would convince him to raise the debt ceiling.
I cannot imagine anything that would talk me into voting for it, he said.
If we had our ability to do it ... I would cut a lot of spending overseas, I mean we have too much stuff and why do we support Obama going into Libya and all this stuff. It's just way too much. You could cut a lot, Paul said.