Washington (CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is warning of catastrophic consequences if Congress does not increase the debt ceiling, the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow, but Barack Obama held a different view on the issue as a senator in 2006.
Five years ago, then-Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) voted against raising the debt ceiling and even spoke about it on the Senate floor before the Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-48 to increase it.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising
Fast-forward to January 2011: The White House is now stressing the need to increase the debt ceiling, currently $14.3 trillion, while Republicans in Congress believe a vote to raise the debt limit should be offset by significant debt-reduction spending cuts. The national debt stands at $13.9 trillion.
Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that not raising the debt limit would mean the
CNSNews.com reported last month that the 111th Congress, in the last two years with Obama as president, racked up more debt – $3.22 trillion --- than the first 100 Congresses combined.
Nevertheless, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked about Obama’s 2006 speech, blamed former President George W. Bush’s policies for the fiscal problems facing the country.
“Based on the outcome of that vote, the country’s full faith and credit was not in doubt,” Gibbs said on Wednesday. “The president used it to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline.”
“We are dealing with the legacy of decisions that have been made over the past several years, not paying for a prescription drug benefit, not paying for wars, not paying for tax cuts that changed out fiscal situation much more markedly than anything ever has,” Gibbs said.
“It is important for Congress not to play politics, not to play games, to find a way to raise that debt limit, understand that we are going to have to take some serious steps to get our fiscal house in order,” he added.
New House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said there should be significant spending cuts before Congress agrees to raise the debt limit.
“I'm only interested in raising the debt ceiling if we get concessions on spending, on real controls to get our fiscal situation turned around and headed in the right direction,” Ryan told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. “I'm not interested in raising the debt ceiling on the hope that a promise will be fulfilled at a later time.”