President Barack Obama says he won’t come out of his room to negotiate his government’s allowance until Congress gives him a credit card with no spending limit.
“If Congress in any way suggests that they’re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation… I will not play that game,” Obama huffed to a room full of business executives, whose own prosperity rests on proper management of their budgets and on staying within their credit limits.
In 2011 and 2012, Obama complained repeatedly after he was forced to temporarily curb his spending plans in exchange for Republicans’ agreement to further raise the the executive’s credit limit on the international money market.
Last year, the GOP’s pressure caused a “catastrophe” he said, suggesting that the GOP was responsible for the federal government’s credit-downgrade in August 2011.
Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, have said repeatedly said that Obama will have to pay a political price — such as curbs in his spending plans — for future credit-limit increases. On Dec. 5, Boehner emphasized the point by saying Obama has boosted the nation’s growing debt to $50,000 for every man, woman and child.
On Nov. 29, Obama declared to the House GOP leadership that he wants them to effectively give up Congress’ ability to limit borrowing by the Treasury Department.
He reiterated that demand Wednesday, and declared that he would not negotiate with Republican leaders over another incerease in the federal government’s spending ceiling.
“That is a bad strategy for America,” Obama told the executives. “It is a bad strategy for our businesses… it is not a game that I will play.”
Instead, Obama and his allies want Congress to simply raise the debt limit, without any exchange or concessions.
Obama’s government is borrowing so much money for agency programs and for continuing entitlement spending that it will hit its current debt limit of $16.394 trillion early next year.
That debt limit has been increased six times since his inauguration in 2009, largely because Obama has borrowed roughly $5 trillion to fund existing and new programs.
Obama plans further deficit spending of roughly $1 trillion per year, and wants to borrow yet more money from international markets, but he can’t do so without permission from Congress.
Lawmakers’ authority over the nation’s debt is enshrined in Section 8 of the Constitution’s first Article, which says “Congress shall have the power to … borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
The power is implemented via the the Public Debts Acts of 1939 and 1941.