Congress, president continue blame as fiscal apocalypse looms
Monday, October 07, 2013 1:58 PM
As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, Congress faces an Oct. 17 deadline to increase the nation's borrowing power or risk default, Reuters reported.
Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner vowed not to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without a "serious conversation" about what is driving the debt, while Democrats said it was irresponsible and reckless to raise the possibility of a U.S. default.
The last big confrontation over the debt ceiling, in August 2011, ended with an 11th-hour agreement under pressure from shaken markets and warnings of an economic catastrophe should there be a default.
Financial experts warned that a default would devastate stock markets globally, cause interest rates to spike and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession and likely a depression, Bloomberg reported.
The $12 trillion of outstanding government debt is 23 times the $517 billion Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. owed when it filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. As politicians butt heads over raising the debt ceiling, executives such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s Lloyd C. Blankfein have warned that going over the edge would be catastrophic.
In comments on Sunday television political talk shows, neither Republicans nor Democrats offered any sign of impending agreement on either the shutdown or the debt ceiling, and each blamed the other side for the impasse.
"I'm willing to sit down and have a conversation with the president," said Boehner, speaking on ABC's "This Week." But, he added, President Barack Obama's "refusal to negotiate is putting our country at risk."
On CNN's "State of the Union" program, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said, "Congress is playing with fire," adding that Obama would not negotiate until "Congress does its job" by reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling.
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