GOP Rep. Steve King: "We Can Go Indefinitely Without Hitting Default"

House Speaker John Boehner disagrees.

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King says the United States can go “indefinitely” without breaching the nation’s debt ceiling and defaulting on its debt obligations. King made the comments while speaking with radio host Tyler Cralle earlier in the week:

“The money masterminds decided we would hit that date (the debt ceiling) sometime in about July. And we timed somethings to have that debt ceiling debate in July, well it didn’t come, because the Treasury was using what they call extraordinary measures,” King said. “Which means they tapped into every account they possibly could, they delayed the payments that they could in other areas. And we rolled this debt ceiling from what was hitting a wall, default they call it, in July, into all the way over now they say it’s October 17th. Well we shouldn’t accept that as the date beyond which we can’t go without what they call default, we can go a long long time. We can go indefinitely without hitting default. So I don’t think it’s really going to get, the continuing resolution is going to get into default, if we define these things correctly. And it troubles me a little bit that I see our House leadership use the language of default on the debt ceiling.”

Here’s the video of King’s comments.

Rep. King cites that the Treasury Department used “extraordinary” measures to avoid default projections in July. In a letter to Congress in May, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that these extraordinary measures will not be exhausted “until after labor day.”

Here’s a PDF of Lew’s letter.

View this embed ›

House Speaker John Boehner disagrees with King’s point of view. Here’s Boehner on Sean Hannity’s radio program in March saying it’s a fallacy to think the U.S. would be able to continue to pay its debts past default for very long.

“We’ve talked about moving prioritization bills, which would allow the Treasury Department to prioritize what they are going to pay for, but what you find out is that typically this time of the year, within two or three days you’re out of money,” Boehner said. “Now, once we get past the tax season, there’s more revenue in there, you might have three or four weeks of the ability to continue to pay the bill, but at some point, we’ve incurred these expenses, people have lent us money to fill this budget void and I think it’s — we’ve never defaulted on our payments in 235 years, and we’re not gonna do it anytime soon.”

As of Friday, the debt default is a less than a week away. Most economists think the consequences of a default would be devastating to the financial markets. Bloomberg News has called it “an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.”

The photo above is of U.S. Senators departing the White House Friday after meeting with President Barack Obama. They attempted to reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown. The meeting lasted for 90 minutes. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

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