Republicans appear to be losing the fiscal cliff 2103 fight over raising taxes on affluent Americans.
Now they're threatening to retaliate by intensifying Washington's next battle: the U.S. debt ceiling.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, pledged Republicans, who control the U.S. House of Representatives, would put up "one hell of a fight over raising the debt ceiling" next year if U.S. President Barack Obama succeeds in getting the tax increase for wealthy Americans without a plan to reduce the national debt. The country is approaching the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
On CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" Tuesday, Graham threatened, "There will come a time in February and March where we have to raise the debt ceiling. I will not raise the debt ceiling ever again until we get significant reforms, because if we don't reform entitlement we're going to become Greece."
If the country's debt ceiling is not raised, the fallout would send shockwaves across the globe, as the United States, with the world's largest economy, would face the prospect of default. That in turn could threaten global confidence in U.S. Treasury bills should there be non-payment.
In addition, exceeding the debt ceiling could mean the U.S. government would be unable to pay its bills, including salaries of federal workers, who could go unpaid or be laid off. That could have far-reaching effects, disrupting business and reducing consumer spending at a time when the economy can ill afford either prospect.
Fiscal Cliff 2013 Debate Gets Ugly
Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over the fiscal cliff and continued trading jabs Tuesday and Wednesday.
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker and lead GOP negotiator Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, said in a statement Tuesday, "We sent the White House a counteroffer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs. We're still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the balanced approach he promised the American people."
Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, maintain President Obama is hindering progress toward hammering out a deal by refusing to provide details of his cost- savings plan.
"Where are the president's spending cuts? The longer the White House slow walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff," Boehner insisted Tuesday.
At a press conference Wednesday, Boehner reiterated the GOP's stance on taxes and deficit reduction through spending cuts.
Boehner said he is "a glass half full kind of guy," that he and President Obama have "some serious" differences and that no progress has emerged from the latest round of talks.
Just 19 more days before we fall off the fiscal cliff if no agreement is reached.
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