Saturday 21 April 2018

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

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.

"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.



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