Sen. Pat Toomey: 'Zero Chance' US Will Default

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 03:23 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Sen. Pat Toomey said Wednesday there is "zero chance" the U.S. government will default on its financial obligations while Congress and the White House are embroiled in a heated debate over budget issues.

"There is zero chance the U.S. government is going to default on its debt," the Pennsylvania Republican insisted on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Story continues below video.

"There is no way any treasury secretary or administration would willfully choose to have the catastrophic results that would occur, if we actually defaulted on our debt when it's not necessary," he said.

The government takes in more than enough tax revenue on a continuing basis to pay the interest on the debt, despite all the talk about the Oct. 17 deadline for increasing the nation's borrowing authority.

"So this is pretty well understood in financial circles," Toomey continued.

Toomey said he has prepared legislation to "simply codify and formalize the obligation to make sure under no circumstances we would default on our debt."

"Interestingly, the White House doesn't want that legislation," he said.

"They've threatened to veto it precisely because they want to be able to hold the specter of a catastrophe in front of Republicans to cow us and intimidate us into giving the president what he wants, which is a whole lot of additional borrowing authority, with no reforms whatsoever."

President Barack Obama so far has expressed an unwillingness to consider any budget reforms until Congress approves a temporary spending measure and debt limit increase to keep the government operating. But Toomey said that approach won't work.

"[The ] White House is saying, 'No, we will not have any such negotiations until you first give us all the borrowing authority and the spending authority. Then we'll have a conversation,'"he said. "That's going to lead nowhere."

Toomey, like most of his Republican colleagues, blames the shutdown and the impasse over the budget and debt issues on Obama.

"He refuses to negotiate and just wants more borrowing authority, after he's added more debt to our country's balance sheet than any other president," he said.

"What is totally unacceptable is for the president to think he should be the first president in modern times not to have to address our overspending problem that's causing the need for all this debt in the first place."

Whether it's a discussion of Obamacare funding or entitlement reform, a dialog at least needs to begin.

"I think anywhere we can start and make some real progress, it would be very important," Toomey said.

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