Debt ceiling crisis gathers steam
President Obama said he seeks to avoid a new, economically damaging debt ceiling crisis while Republican lawmakers continue to maintain that raising the limit should be tied to further federal spending cuts.
In a Jan. 14 press conference, the last of his first term, the president said he will not permit congressional Republicans to "collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy," calling the GOP position a threat to wreck the entire economy.
Obama said he is willing to work with Congress to the deficit as part of future negotiations. He said the country has already secured $2.5 trillion of the needed $4 trillion needed for defiict stabilization through cuts and shrunk interest payments.
In response, House Speaker Rep. Joh Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated in a statement his party's position of tying further cuts to a raised debt ceiling.
"The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved," he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also said that now is the time for Congress to address the debt and deficit as one. "Avoiding this problem will only make it worse, which is why many of us view the upcoming debt limit debate as a perfect opportunity to face up to Washington's spending."
The government has already reached its debt limit, though the Treasury Department is undertaking a series of extraordinary measures that will allow it to continue to pay bills until sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.