January 5th, 2014
10:15 AM ET
9 years ago

White House warns Republicans against fighting economic fixes

Washington (CNN) – The President’s top economic adviser warned Republicans that threatening default on the debt limit was risking political peril.

The White House's Director of the National Economic Council told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday morning that Republicans not only risk doing irreparable damage to the economy if they were to risk the full faith and credit of the United States in another political showdown with the Obama administration, but they could also destroy their chances at the polls in November.

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"I think that it will be harmful, not just for the economy, but harmful politically, if Republicans use 2014 as a year to threaten default again on the debt limit," Gene Sperling said.

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Sperling touted the forward progress made with last month's bipartisan budget compromise, but his salvo to Republicans illustrates the tenuousness of that partnership.

"We are building off some bipartisan cooperation in the budget agreement," Sperling said. "Are we going to build off that momentum?"

Sperling's prodding of the Republican leadership comes amid the President's renewed push to extend unemployment insurance for the more than 1 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months. In his weekly address, Obama cauterized Republicans in Congress who "went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire."

"Republicans should make it their New Year's resolution to do the right thing, and restore this vital economic security for their constituents right now," Obama said.

The Senate plans to take up the measure and hold its first procedural vote on the issue when the body returns from its holiday recess Monday. Democrats remain unsure if they have enough Republican support to cross the 60 vote threshold to clear the hurdle, a senior leadership aide told CNN.

Sperling channeled the President's tone Sunday, echoing Obama's labeling of the Republican position as "cruel" and admonishing those on the other side of the aisle for making an unwelcome milestone by cutting off emergency benefits for the first time in the last half century.

"We have never cut off emergency unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate is this high," Sperling said. "Tomorrow is actually the day that 1.3 million Americans will go to the mailbox and find that check missing, the check that they rely on to put food on their table."

Sperling proceeded to question Republican motives, almost daring GOP members to flout overtures from the Obama administration, especially on an issue as critical to the Republican 2014 agenda as job creation. Sperling made clear that, for him, the Republican case against acting on unemployment insurance smacks more about political expediency than protecting citizens against what he called "the worst legacy of the Great Recession."

"The question is: Is the only reason people want to work together on jobs politics? Or are we here to try to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, deal with inequality, have each other’s backs in hard times?"

Republicans like Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul insist that the benefits are an economic drain and de-incentivize looking for work. The Congressional Budget Office estimates extending the assistance will cost about $26 billion.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told CNN that the Ohio Republican will insist Democrats offset the cost of extending unemployment insurance before he agrees to any proposal.

However, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker broke rank Sunday from the rest of the party and said that he supports extending unemployment benefits on the condition that the eligibility requirements be tweaked.

"Any discussion on this should be what reforms can we make," Walker said on CNN's "State of the Union."

As of October, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin sat at 6.5%, well below the national average.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. rs

    Predictably, the Republicans see their inaction and obstruction (all the while whining about the lack of any progress on the economy- or just about anything else) as somehow being "heroic".
    If true to form, they will massively overplay their hand (like last October), and send themselves back into the basement of approval.

    January 5, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    --don't you ever worry, they know Ted Cruz already damaged by unneeded Shut-Down. Every American knew, world knew.

    January 5, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Liz the First

    If the repugs haven't shown the country how economically disastrous and morally bankrupt their governing philosophy is by now, shame on us! it's really a shame that the folks most likely to vote for them, the mostly decent, salt-of-the-earth rural folks, would never stoop as low as these traitors have but yet see them as good, upstanding Americans. the repugs' only real talent is fooling people into voting for them and against their own self-interest. i seriously doubt the average republican voter is as rotten as the monsters they send to D.C., they're just gullible.

    January 5, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Stuffitu

    My sympathies to all of the American and Iraqi families who lost their loved ones fighting to free Anbar Province. It is shameful that our corrupt president made a mockery of their deaths to benefit the welfare frauds, dope addicts and corrupt union bosses in this country, but such disrespect of bravery and sacrifice is a trait of democrat liberals along with deceit and treachery..

    January 5, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. jpmichigan

    Democrats will do and say (cry wolf once again) to get what they want and believe in what they want, but the pass has shown what they want doesn't always work. Reason so many are still on the unemployment list is because this administration has created only part-time jobs with all its new regulations.

    January 5, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Thomas

    The Tea Party Republicans are going to shut the government again. We just can't keep spend monies we don't have.

    Rand Paul 2016

    January 5, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. king

    these right wingers already got our credit ratings downgraded, yet they are out there doing everything to kill the american economy. imagine if the repubs wasnt fighting and obstructing this administration the way they have been doing for the past 5 years. i wonder how much more jobs would have been created, and how modernized our country would have been. this country probably created more jobs than any other administration, the problem is that most of the jobs are taken over by computer systems and robots, yet this country is averaging nearly 200 thousand jobs a month for the past 4 years. the rich is most richest ever in this world history. yet the doom days a coming scream from the right is off the chart.

    January 5, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Donna

    Nobody is threatening default. Why is this lying, deceitful administration saying these things? And people wonder why this country is a mess. All they ever do is lie and con the American people.

    January 5, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. just saying

    what do these clowns know about economic fixes anyways? 4.5 years after the end of the recession we still have record unemployment and the lowest work force participation rate in 3-4 decades. and the worse part is these fools think this is wonderful and keep wanting to do the same stuff. they have kept the country down in the gutter so long that even a crawl back onto the curb is heralded as some great achievement.

    January 5, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. YUCK

    Every time when republicans lies its a projection on them,the whole thing is psychological war fair based on lies,cheating and killing...that's what the oppressors have done for centuries...cheat,lie and kill.

    January 5, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Thomas

    The Tea Party Republicans are going to shut the government again. We just can't keep spend monies we don't have.

    Rand Paul 2016


    Randy Paul " Aqua Buddha " your kidding me right ?

    The guy is a joke .

    January 5, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. rs

    Nobody is threatening default. Why is this lying, deceitful administration saying these things? And people wonder why this country is a mess. All they ever do is lie and con the American people.
    The GOP officially indicated just lat week they were going to fight the debt ceiling increase this month. That means they are threatening this nation with defaulting on the financial obligations they already committed it to.

    January 5, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |

    More barf from the democrats. Do it our way and accept everything we say or we will shut the government down and blame you.

    January 5, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. badtobone

    If Obama and Dems are sure the economy is growing as fast as they say. More jobs now that ever then what the need for more unemployment ? CAN'T have it both ways so there's the problem

    January 5, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. JustAnotherVoter

    In other words, when the White House "fixes" fail, blame someone else. Simply more of the same from a failed, over promise, undeliver administration.

    January 5, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Moss

    I just wish the White House would have warned the American people about how bad Obamacare was going to end up being. "Period"

    January 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Scott

    Republicans like the majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, the President's signature debacle.
    Universally opposed is the President's deceit.

    January 5, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. destroyerofeconomies

    Obama is a proven liar.oppose everything he proposes.liberal policies should be shunned

    January 5, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Luke

    This administration knows only one tactic in its feeble attempts to right the economy and that is to give out money. More food stamps, more unemployment benefits, more students loans, etc. The reality is that our government has no money to give. We are broke. It is pathetic.

    January 5, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. rob

    Spoken like a true naz1. This m0ron1c administration has not made one decision that wasn’t a disaster.“Oppose me and america will suffer” …..unbelievable

    January 5, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. alex

    ,have each other’s backs in hard times?

    Unfortunately that's not a concept that repugs are familiar with. Sure, they'll send our men and women to fight wars and risk their lives for their freedom, but God forbid extending a helping hand to their fellow American.

    January 5, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. d

    Every few months or so they fight over the debt limit and every time, they raise it by another trillion. This will repeat in a never-ending cycle. This is not a solution. This is putting a band aid over a cracked hydro dam. Default is the only solution. In order to save the country, the fake economy must be torn down.

    January 5, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Mac

    Want to fix the economy stop this Admins agenda. This Administration is the most ANTI-BUSINESS in history. 5 years later are economy is still in the toilet and when the ACA employer mandate kicks in it will be worse.

    January 5, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. TeaParty4Life

    It's really sad that that the libtards think they are successful at governing. Even through the lies and deceptions they still think they are 'good' people!! LOL

    January 5, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Harold Reed

    But the 5 year Obamanomic recovery plan has been such a success...
    "The recovery clearly remains incomplete" – Ben Bernenke

    January 5, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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