House Speaker John Boehner believes that the debt ceiling is an “action-forcing event”. He says this year he will force Congress to enact spending cuts that are larger than the increase in the debt limit they allow. Boehner is gearing up the Republicans for a battle over the debt ceiling like last year or worse.
According to remarks sent to the Washington Post, Boehner says the debt limit is the only avenue available to Congress to solve our “structural fiscal imbalance”.
“We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction.”
The Speaker’s office said that any form of tax increase is off the table.
Speaking at a conference, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Boehner on the debt limit, saying,
“This commitment to meet the obligations of the nation, this commitment to protect the creditworthiness of the country, is a fundamental commitment that you can never call into question or violate. He said he hopes Congress will raise the debt limit “without the drama and the pain and the damage they caused the country last July.”
Historically the debt ceiling debate has never really been a debate. Congress may have grumbled a little bit about the amount of debt the country was incurring but always signed off on it in a bipartisan way long before the need arose. Last year the debate turned into a war, an even thought he ceiling was raised (albeit with an equal amount of cuts to be implemented) several rating agencies downgraded the United States’ credit rating.
Geithner said in February said that he expects that the debt ceiling will be hit sometime between Sept. 30, 2012 and the end of the year. The Bush-era tax cuts also expire at the end of 2012, and $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts to defense and other programs are expected to take place without Congressional intervention.