Once Again, House GOP Threatens Debt Default

Once Again, House GOP Threatens Debt Default

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House Republicans are threatening to play hardball with President Obama over the debt ceiling,  saying they are prepared  to allow the government to default on its debt and force a government shutdown unless  Obama  cuts spending and  entitlement programs.

“I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state told Politico. “We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”

According to Politico, more than half  of the House GOP would support this nuclear approach to forcing the president’s hand.  Though nothing is certain, the GOP's strategy will begin to cystalize  this week after House Speaker John Boehner huddles with House leadership Monday to strategize how best to navigate the spending showdown in the coming months.  -  Read more at Politico

DEFENSE CUTS COULD STING DC SUBURBS    Tough times may be ahead for the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., which have enjoyed years of  economic boom thanks to defense contractors and federal government jobs, while the rest of the country suffered through the Great Recession of 2008.

The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak and Eric Pianin report that the four Virginia congressional districts within a short drive of the capital received $45 billion in defense contracts in 2011 alone, making these suburbs incredibly vulnerable  to sudden shifts in spending policy.

This could mean a tough road ahead for Northern Virginia and other regions with large defense industry footprints  as defense spending is already scheduled to take a hit, and could very likely absorb even more cuts depending on the result of the debt ceiling showdown.  -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

TREASURY KILLS THE PLATINUM COIN OPTION    It was fun while it lasted, but Treasury officials finally put an end to the political pundits’ pipedream of minting a $1 trillion coin to avoid an excruciating debt ceiling showdown in the coming months.

The coin idea gained a lot of attention last week from media-types as well as several well-respected economists,. It  takes advantage of a provision  in the law that allows the Treasury to mint legal tender platinum coins in any denomination for collectors. Under the gambit, the government would mint  a $1 trillion coin  and then deposit  it at the Federal Reserve to temporarily finance the government until the debt ceiling is lifted again.

Over the weekend,  the Treasury and the Federal Reserve both  hit the breaks on that idea.
“Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” Treasury Department spokesman, Anthony Coley, told The Washington Post.   -   Read more at The Washington Post

HOUSE TO VOTE ON SANDY AID THIS WEEK   The House is expected to vote on the $50 billion in relief to Hurricane Sandy victims tomorrow. However, don’t expect the bill  to pass without a fight, since many Republicans are complaining that it is laden with pork and spending unrelated to the Sandy catastrophe. 
-  Read more at The New York Times

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.