Pawlenty on Debt Ceiling: US 'Shouldn't Dine and Dash'

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 06:08 PM

By Greg Richter

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When he ran for president in 2011, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty opposed raising the debt ceiling.  Today, he's urging his fellow Republicans to make a deal.

"The United States of America shouldn't dine and dash," Pawlenty said Monday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"These are commitments that were made in the past. The bills are now due. You gotta pay them. And we should not be the leading nation in the world and say, we can't pay all our bills."

In a 2011 interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Pawlenty said the GOP should not agree to raise the government's ability to borrow. But if they did, "they need to get something permanent, and structural, and meaningful, like a constitutional amendment, real spending caps, and some changes in the spending in the near term."

Pawlenty told Tapper on Monday that when he made the statement so-called "extraordinary measures" had not been taken. In 2011, there were still a number of things the Treasury Department could do administratively.

Now, he says, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says he has exhausted all "extraordinary measures,"  so something should be done before the Oct. 17 deadline – even if it is a short-term solution, such as three weeks.

Pawlenty sees Republicans merging the debt ceiling debate and the continuing resolution on the budget, which the GOP has tied to defunding Obamacare. The GOP says it is seeking compromise with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama, who say they will not negotiate with what they called a gun pointed at their heads.

But Pawlenty says there are enough members in both parties who would support issues such as the Keystone oil pipeline, tax reform, and cutting the medical device tax to start things moving.

"Those are the kinds of things where reasonable people can say, all right, we'll sweeten the pot and get the dang thing done," Pawlenty said.

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