White House official: 'No other path' on debt crisis
July 6th, 2011
08:00 PM ET
12 years ago

White House official: 'No other path' on debt crisis

(CNN) – America will face economic calamity if Congress fails to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and the government defaults on its obligations, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders on Thursday to discuss a deficit reduction deal that Republicans are linking to their support for increasing how much money the government can borrow.

When asked by CNN's Candy Crowley about a backup plan for getting the debt ceiling raised, Pfeiffer said there was "no other path" than for the limit on government borrowing to be increased by the August 2 deadline.

"You don't need a Plan B," Pfeiffer said. "What you need to do is what every American wants us to do, which is get together, make some tough decisions, deal with our deficit and make it so we can pay our obligations."

If the government defaults, Pfeiffer said Americans can expect serious uncertainty on Wall Street, potential dents in their 401K plans and increases in interest rates.

Some in Congress have called for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling to allow time for further negotiations, an idea that Pfeiffer labeled as "untenable.”

Such a short-term deal would mean "we're going to be debating about the exact same issue 30 days from now - 60 days from now –so let's deal with it now," Pfeiffer said.

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Filed under: Congress • Debt • President Obama • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. GOP = Greed Over People

    "I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue,"

    If you give up a clearly stated Constitutional option, then just go ahead and cave now, and just give the GOP a blank check and save all the drama over the next 2 weeks.

    There is no way the GOP is going to give up on their stated singular mission which is to see "America FAIL" at any price!

    At some point, President Obama, you will come out with some flowery speech about how you want to prevent pain to the American citizenry and a global financial catastrophe, so, therefore blah, blah, blah.

    Bottom line just give in now, and then announce you will not run for re-election in 2012 and let another Dem take on the GOP.

    July 6, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. MAC

    If taxes are raised 1 trillion dollars over 10 years, then spending needs to be cut 3 trillion dollars to keep the 3 to 1 ration Obama's own debt reduction committee recomended. but that will still leave 3.5 trillion dollars that needs to be cut to just balance the budget that Obama has proposed over the next 10 years. and then another 14.4 trillion dollars cut to get rid of the current debt.

    July 6, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. Kenneth E. Hauck

    First,may I give some much needed advice. Go back to Elementary school,so that all may get their playing out of the way.
    Now let sit down and get some answer,we the people must have it now.
    The GOP/tea party main plan is to make this president a one term presidential playing with the public headache side MUST give up something. The GOP/tea party do not want there Rich friends. All they want is to hurt the. Middle class. Some of you should live off SS,buying your Ins. When or the0 gop/tea party going to give the office of the president some respect? But its not about the office, its about the man.mr.presient do not let them have their. The people are with you.

    July 6, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. Discernment

    It is about time the White House got a backbone.
    You tell 'em Dan Pfeiffer.

    July 6, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    The repugs have every opportunity to work on deficits during the budget process. To hold the American economy hostage over paying debt legally incurred by dems and repugs, and the last President, is an irresponsible, gutless move.

    July 6, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    The Democrats spent us into this mess. Where was all of the drama while it was happening?
    But the Republicans have been very responsive to work it out. Understandably they don't want to see this used as just another excuse to raise taxes. Thank goodness Americans thought before they voted in November. Otherwise, the debt ceiling would already be raised and Obama would betaking us on our way to $20 trillion debt with no spending cuts.

    July 6, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. kyle

    It looks like the GOPers are willing to let the Country collapse to protect their rich friends, we have 9 percent unemployment, so tax cuts for rich do not create jobs.

    July 6, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    Maybe the Democrats should let the rethugs have all the cuts they're demanding and then when the American people see how much harm they do maybe they'll wake up and stop voting for rethugs! where these folks got the insane notion you can live in a civilized society without paying for it is beyond me. does anyone think the richest in this country will stop making money if they have to pay a bit more of it in taxes?of course they won't. would you? i wouldn't. especially at that level.and if cutting millionaires' taxes created jobs, where were all these extra jobs when Bush was president????? this myth of not needing to pay taxes will bring this country to ruin. republicans would rather hold onto their last cent than save the country from defaulting. and they call themselves 'patriotsl' yeah, right!

    July 6, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. Ed

    Scare tactics on both sides! The US government is not going to default on its debt. We'll make the August 15 interest payment and all future obligations by some combination of (a) rolling it over without actually paying the principle (called "amend and extend" – hello China, can you spare a few billion?), (b) ignoring Congress and the debt ceiling and letting the Supreme Court decide how to interpret that clause in the 14th Amendment about govt debts, and (c) the old fashioned way – printing it. Option (c) would actually do the most damage in the long run. There will not be a default. Heck, even the best bond investor in the world, the guy who runs PIMCO, is betting against default and making money selling credit default swaps. Nothing but hype.

    July 6, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Unless the GOP agrees to some serious tax increases, this short extention won't mean squat. There needs to be some serious long term discussions. Without taxes being raised on rich (and possibly on everyone), there won't be a way to slow down the debt from growing hire. THe Democrats have agreed to do some triming, but I haven't heard any compromise from the GOP.

    July 6, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. fuzzythinker

    The rich, according to the IRS, are the source of 50% of all current Tax Revenues.
    Also, 45% of Tax Payers are Not providing any Tax Revenues at current Tax Rates.

    Let's get the Freshmen congressmen to fight for: Moving Congress, President, & Appointees retirement program to Social Security. Then, there will be more support for SS.

    July 6, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. fuzzythinker

    The Rich should complain about 'Taxation without Representation'.
    Redistributing Wealth has a political cost:
    To be more fair, one should be awarded an extra vote for every $100,000 paid in Income Taxes since the last election.

    July 7, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. Bob C

    The Republicans keep saying they want what Americans want. But the polls tell us that their positions are held by the minority. Can someone help me out here?

    July 7, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  14. J.V.hodgson

    Why are we so surprised by Republican intransigence on debt. Anything that ties up the whole congressional machinery for as long as possible is designed to meet the only real Republican political policy, that of ousting the President in 2012, and never mind the hurt to a huge part of the American population.
    They believe that passing no legislation or proposing only legislation that even if passed would be vetoed and QED means unemployment levels do not go down and means Obama loses!! I exxagerate say my Opposition, but mark my words. The next two tactics will be repeats of 2008 to 2010, 1) A repeal of health care 2) The continual non voting on anything to do with a budget that may help the economy or American recovery.
    The recovery economically and jobs wise will be much more influenced by a global economic recovery than any single specific policy in the US alone whether that be tax reductions or The Obama version of moderate spending on education, infrastructure, via the $1.3trillion spending cuts and $ 400bn taxes on the rich and corporates.The trade deal Obama has pushed being a notable exception and good policy.
    Mr Boehner take a look at the polls re tax increase for the rich you are not representing the majority here at present.
    Get on with it do it and look for the rest of the savings in the 2011/2012 budget debates and committees. Most don't support the Ryan budget so it is time to sit down again and work with the Presidents debt commission report and Ryan budget and get some compromise going to make further savings and maybe even longer term some tax reductions.

    July 7, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  15. vikingslost

    If Congress fails to act on raising the debt limit, then the President of the United States has the power to declare an Executive Order raising that debt limit based on national security interests for our country. Come November of 2012, American voters can vote out of office those Congressional members not willing to work together for the betterment of our country.

    July 7, 2011 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. The Elephant in The Room

    Wall Street can make money from a US default and Republicans like Eric Cantor maybe co-conspiretors. Recall, it was Cantor that unprofessionally walked out of the discussions to come up with a solution.

    If Wall Street speculators bet against the economy by "shorting" Treasury bonds – – and then convince Republicans to cause the US to default – – they will make a ton of money. Check the campaign contributions history if a default occurs.

    Don`t believe that Wall Streeters are necessarily against default and will therefore pressure the GOTP to behave responsibly. Wall St. will do anything to manipulate markets and steal a buck in the process.

    July 7, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  17. Tax the Rich

    Stop caving to the party of obstructionists. Ever since even before Medicare and Social Security were implementing...the Republicans opposed at every step of the way. Only a few fringe Republicans like Ron Paul are honest enough to admit they want to elimate Entitlements altogether.

    July 7, 2011 01:13 am at 1:13 am |