I said a few weeks ago that if President Obama refused to use the platinum coin or the 14th Amendment to stop the debt ceilling fight, it’s because he wants his Grand Bargain deal with the Republicans, and having a showdown is the best way to make it happen. I saw nothing during today’s press conference to change my opinion that the president is determined to make the Republicans sit down and cut a deal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Read the transcript here:
President Barack Obama ratcheted up pressure on congressional Republicans to authorize an increase in the nation’s debt limit, warning of potentially catastrophic results for many Americans and the overall economy if the U.S. were to default on its obligations.
“The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills,” Obama said at a press conference on Monday, the last of his first term in office. “We are not a deadbeat nation.”
Anticipating a politically bruising fight this spring with the GOP — members of which in Congress have increasingly and openly discussed the prospect of refusing to raise the debt ceiling or allowing a government shutdown — Obama urged lawmakers to avoid using the vote over the debt limit as a point of leverage.
And the president sought to frame the risks of default in stark terms. He warned markets would go “haywire” if Congress would not act; Obama said that interest rates would rise, and checks to Social Security beneficiaries and military veterans would cease.
But as some Democrats urge the administration to consider options to sidestep Congress and assert the authority to unilaterally authorize more borrowing, Obama all but ruled out these sorts of “Plan B” options.