After hailing the passage of the "fiscal cliff" last night, President Barack Obama laid down a marker on the debt ceiling: It will not, he said, be up for negotiation.
"[W]hile I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed. Let me repeat: We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic -- far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff," Obama said at around 11:26 last night.
"People will remember, back in 2011, the last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk. Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can't go down that path again."
The federal government officially hit the debt ceiling limit Monday. The current debt limit is $16.394 trillion.
But because of budget gimmicks by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the federal government will have another two months before Congress will have to deal with the problem.
Yet as far as Obama is concerned, there should be no debate over whether the legal debt limit should be higher than $16.394 trillion.