Don’t Use Debt Ceiling as Weapon, Obama Tells G.O.P.
By PETER BAKER and JONATHAN WEISMAN, NYT
WASHINGTON — President Obama warned Republicans on Wednesday not to use the debt ceiling as leverage on spending and tax decisions, saying he refused to engage again in the sort of brinkmanship that brought the country close to default last year and damaged its credit rating.
In a speech to the Business Roundtable, Mr. Obama called that irresponsible. “That is a bad strategy for America, it’s a bad strategy for your businesses and it is not a game that I will play,” he said. “Everybody here is concerned about uncertainty. There’s no uncertainty like the prospect that the United States of America, the largest economy, that holds the world’s reserve currency, potentially defaults on its debts.”
While saying he would not “play that game,” a phrase he repeated, Mr. Obama did not say what he would do in response, but some Democrats have urged him in the past to simply raise the borrowing limit using his own executive authority and let the courts determine if he overstepped his constitutional bounds.
He seemed to embrace a suggestion by John Engler, the Business Roundtable president, to raise the debt ceiling enough to last five years. “John is exactly right when he says that the only thing that the debt ceiling is good for as a weapon is just to destroy your credit rating,” Mr. Obama said.