Rep. Gohmert doubts reported August debt default deadline
POSTED: Friday, July 22, 2011 - 10:08am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 3:00am
Longview, TX — There is ample time to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and set a “game changer” in motion to prevent future crises, the congressman from Northeast Texas said Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, is not convinced that Aug. 2, when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, congressional leaders and the president say the nation falls into default, is a certain deadline.
“We’re not going to default on our debt — especially in August,” Gohmert said by phone from Washington. “It’s not the life-or-death issue by Aug. 2 that both some of the Democratic leaders and some of our own Republican leaders paint. And I don’t think we should give up, in a frenzy, to just another bill that postpones us dealing with our problem.”
The Social Security Trust Fund holds $2.6 trillion in notes, he said, disputing President Barack Obama’s assertion that older people might not receive monthly checks if Congress fails to act within 11 days.
And the U.S. Treasury has sufficient funds to meet the nation’s other obligations well past Aug. 2, he said.
“It would be insane for Geithner or Obama to order us not to pay our debt when, actually, $600 billion is available to the Federal Reserve,” he said. “We will not default on our debt. The military will be paid — those things will all be covered.”
Meanwhile, proposals to raise the debt limit, cut spending and, in some cases, eliminate tax breaks to the wealthiest have been batted between the White House and Congressional leaders. None have achieved consensus.
Gohmert said he leaned more toward a House Republican plan that cut spending, capped federal agency spending and amended the Constitution to require Congress to write budgets that balance.
“I wasn’t pleased with the amount of cuts in Cut, Cap and Balance,” he said, citing that proposal. “But the balanced budget amendment itself, if it were to become part of the Constitution, that would be such a game-changer for the future.”
A constitutional amendment must go before state assemblies, which would eliminate Obama’s veto pen, he added.
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