Obama warns Congress about looming deadlines

With another federal budget deadline looming in December, and the debt ceiling limit set to expire in early November, President Obama warned Congress on Friday at a White House news conference that he “won’t sign another shortsighted spending bill” and will not negotiate with Republicans on further spending cuts to raise the federal debt limit.

“Even though the American economy has been chugging along at a steady pace, much of the global economy has softened,” Obama said. “Our own growth could slow if Congress does not do away with some of the counterproductive austerity measures they have put in place”.

The deadline for debt limit legislation will come more than a month ahead of the Dec. 11 expiration of the budget resolution signed by the President on Wednesday, but current Congressional negotiations with the White House are focused on a two-year budget deal, which will allow for “a regular appropriations process” next year, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress informing lawmakers that the federal government would be unable to borrow money after about Nov. 5. U.S. debt currently stands at $18.15 trillion, just shy of the limit set by Congress in February 2014.

In 2011, the White House agreed to spending cuts for a $2.1 trillion debt limit increase. The cap on total outstanding public debt has been raised twice since then without any provisions mandating cuts to the federal budget. Both of those efforts enjoyed overwhelming support from congressional Democrats.

On Friday, President Obama also said he will not negotiate with Republicans on further spending cuts tied to raising the government’s borrowing limit.

“If (the debt ceiling) gets messed with, it would have profound implications for the global economy and could put our economy in the kind of tailspin we saw in 2008,” Obama cautioned.

The president also addressed conservatives on the Hill that want to eliminate public funding of Planned Parenthood as a stipulation for supporting any long-term budget deal:

“I understand they feel strongly about it and I respect that,” Obama said. “But you can’t have an issue like that potentially wreck the U.S. economy, any more than I should hold the entire budget process hostage (over gun control).”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government subsidizes Planned Parenthood with $450 million annually.


[AP] [Bloomberg] [Photo courtesy Getty Images]