“People shouldn’t get spooked,” he says. “But the yellow light is flashing. This is urgent.”
Economic pundits issued severe warnings of “potentially catastrophic consequences” if the ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2 that would include skyrocketing interest rates and a plummeting U.S. dollar.Obama implored Congress to cancel holiday vacation plans if a deal is not struck by the close of business this week.
“I want everybody to understand that this is a jobs issue. This is not an abstraction,” he said. “If the United States government, for the first time, cannot pay its bills — if it defaults — then the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable. And that is not a good thing.”
The president also criticized the GOP, saying that, if the government cannot “raise taxes on the millionaires and billionaires,” then the country will have to slash tuition relief for college students. Republicans fired back with their own lingustic firepower.
“The president is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the [Republican-controlled] House,” Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after Obama’s news conference. “A debt-limit increase can only pass the House if it includes spending cuts larger than the debt limit increase; includes reforms to hold down spending in the future; and is free from tax hikes. The longer the president denies these realities, the more difficult he makes this process.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, insisted earlier in the day that Republicans will “refuse to let the taxpayers take the hit when it comes to reducing the debt.”
The debate is “about holding Washington accountable for a change,” McConnell said. “It’s about refusing to subsidize the Democrats’ irresponsible spending habits another day.”