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Wednesday 27 August 2014

US shutdown: Obama won't negotiate under threat of debt default

Published 07/10/2013 | 14:09

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US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

WHITE House officials were firm on Monday that President Barack Obama would not negotiate with congressional Republicans under the threat of a debt default and repeated that it is up to Congress to raise the U.S. borrowing cap.

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"There has never been a period where you have a serious faction or a serious strategy by one political party ... to use the threat of default as the main tactic in extracting policy," White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said at a Politico breakfast.

Sperling spoke a day after House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, took a hard line on the deadlock that has shut down the government and threatens an unprecedented default as early as Oct. 17, saying he would not raise the debt limit without a concession from the president.

Holding up an increase in the debt limit in exchange for political concessions would set a dangerous precedent, Sperling said.

"You know how this goes," he said. "It will be used time and again, and there will be payback if there is a Republican president."

Sperling and White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman said there is no easy recourse if Congress does not raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. The White House believes that language in the U.S. Constitution does not give the president authority to raise the debt limit unilaterally.

 

Reuters

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