Apr 12, 2011 5:08 AM GMT
WASHINGTON – The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama regrets his vote as a senator in 2006 against raising the debt limit — the same kind of increase he's now pressuring Congress to approve.
Obama "thinks it was a mistake," presidential spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration's policies, you can play around with."
The country will reach its debt limit of $14.3 trillion by May 16. If Congress doesn't raise it by then or shortly thereafter, the government would not be able to make debt payments, leading to an unprecedented default of the national debt and driving up borrowing costs for the government, U.S. companies and consumers, the Treasury Department warns.
Republicans who control the House are threatening to withhold their votes to increase the debt ceiling unless Obama agrees to major spending cuts. The White House is insistent that the debt ceiling be extended without any attempts to cut spending attached to it.