House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday that the United States will not default on its debt obligations as the Treasury Department approaches its borrowing limit in late May.
Boehner said a bill the House will consider later this week will assure world markets that the United States is committed to paying its obligations while buying time for Congress to negotiate a plan to raise the nation's debt limit later this year.
The Treasury Department insists that it has no flexibility on how it determines which bills to pay, but Boehner told reporters that the Full Faith and Credit Act would clarify its ability to spend money above the debt limit to pay for bonds and Social Security checks.
The bill "clarifies congressional intent," Boehner said. "Our goal here is to get America on a solid fiscal path; it's not to default on our debt."
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer countered that the bill is an unserious political ploy that will create confusion in the markets.
"It continues to amaze me that the Republican leadership continues to follow such irresponsible fiscal policy," Hoyer told reporters at a briefing. "This is a partisan — not serious — solution."
Calling it the "Pay China First Bill," Hoyer contended that the bill requires the Treasury to pay foreign creditors before paying for other obligations such as activity-duty military, veterans' benefits, Medicare or Medicaid payments, or payments owed to small businesses.
The Obama administration issued its own criticism of the bill with a veto threat on Tuesday afternoon, saying that it wanted to increase the nation's debt ceiling with no conditions.
"This bill would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States, cost American jobs, hurt businesses of all sizes, and do damage to the economy," the White House said in a statement. "This legislation is unwise, unworkable, and unacceptably risky."
A House Republican leadership aide told Newsmax that Democrats are disingenuous with their concerns over the nation's debt ceiling, saying that their only solution is to raise taxes.
"Democrats understand that their only leverage in a fight over the debt limit is in scaring the American people into believing that there is a looming catastrophe," the aide said.
"This bill — because it takes default off the table — puts the focus on the real problem, which is out-of-control Washington spending."
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