White House Chief of Staff William Daley says he is confident the United States will not default on its debt.
Daley told CNBC television Tuesday that there are a lot of debt reduction plans on the table and everyone is stressed as the August 2 deadline for default gets closer. But he said that, in the end, Congress will do what is right.
Congress and the White House are in what President Barack Obama calls a dangerous stalemate over two competing plans to deeply cut spending while raising the debt limit by next week. The White House says Mr. Obama is doing whatever he can to reach a compromise, calling it the only option to avoid default and the cataclysmic effects it would have on the world economy.
Daley said it is “obvious” a plan by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner would not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. Boehner’s plan would immediately raise the debt limit by $1 trillion while cutting spending by the same amount.
Mr. Obama prefers a plan by fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – $2.7 trillion in cuts and raising the debt ceiling through next year’s election to avoid another divisive debate.
If there is no plan to let the federal government keep borrowing funds by August 2, the country risks defaulting on its debt. The Treasury says it could not pay all of its obligations, and interest rates would rise for anyone seeking loans from U.S. banks. The government also may not be able to pay Social Security checks to retirees or fulfill corporate contracts.
In a televised speech Monday, Mr. Obama told Americans to call their representatives and senators to urge them to back a plan that cuts spending while boosting taxes on corporations and millionaires. Officials on Capitol Hill say lawmakers’ telephone lines and e-mail were jammed all day Tuesday.