Treasury chief calls for debt limit unity
Lew says showdown would hurt economy
WASHINGTON – With Congress and President Barack Obama possibly heading to another showdown over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Sunday pleaded for lawmakers to “take away any cloud of uncertainty about the ability of the United States to pay its bills.”
“It’s not OK to default,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I would certainly hope that Congress isn’t looking to create confrontations and false crises because we did see, in 2011, how bad that is for the American economy,” he said.
He was referring to the partisan standoff, resolved at the last minute, that led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the nation’s credit rating for the first time, from AAA to AA+.
A number of congressional Republicans want to impose conditions for raising the government’s $16.7 trillion debt limit.
“If we’re going to raise the debt limit, then we’ve got to do something about what’s causing us to spend more money than what we bring in,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on CNBC last month. “So guess what? We’re going to have a debate, and we’re going to have a negotiation.”
But Lew signaled that the administration isn’t willing to negotiate.