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No More Red Ink

Republicans wade into the debt battle.

May 23, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 34 • By FRED BARNES
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Obama’s best argument, one he cited in his session with Republican senators, is that the government will default on its debt unless the limit is raised, causing an economic collapse. McConnell, for one, is not impressed with this.

The idea the Obama administration will default is “nonsense,” he told me. “They’re not going to default. No treasury secretary is going to default.” McConnell was referring to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who says the government will run out of money to pay debts on August 2.

Republicans are united on the requirement for spending cuts. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican whip, says there’s “not one Republican vote” for increasing the limit “where no cuts are proposed.” All 47 Senate Republicans are likely to follow McConnell’s lead.

Did Obama get the message from Rubio and his Republican colleagues? Republican senators aren’t sure. But McConnell couldn’t be clearer. “There is going to be a big package [of cuts] or we’ll still be arguing about the debt ceiling this fall,” he said. As far as I could tell, he wasn’t kidding.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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