Cantor To Reid: Pass House Bill Or Default Is Your Responsibility
July 28, 2011
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) declared Thursday that Senate Democrats would be responsible for a national default if they defeat a House plan to raise the debt limit.
Cantor starkly laid out the options: Either the Senate passes the House debt-limit legislation or the nation will likely default.
“There are two choices left. When we send this bill over, this compromise piece of legislation, Harry Reid can take that up, pass it, send it to the White House. We can avoid the potential consequences of going past Aug. 2 and get on with the business of this country or it will be on Harry Reid to bear the consequences of economic damage and I don’t want to see that,” Cantor said in reference to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Cantor said the House plan to raise the debt ceiling by $900 trillion, which the lower chamber will consider Thursday evening, is a compromise plan based on Democratic demands.
All 53 members of the Senate Democratic conference have pledged in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to defeat it.
He said Reid would bear the responsibility for endangering the national economy if he blocks it in the upper chamber.
Cantor implied that House Republicans are not willing to compromise further on their demands for steep spending cuts to match dollar-for-dollar any increase of the debt limit.
“This is a compromise piece of legislation that was negotiated between the speaker and bipartisan leadership in the Senate and so Harry Reid’s got a choice to make,” Cantor said Thursday afternoon. “Either he go ahead and accept a compromise or he’s going to bring on default, something I hope he doesn’t do.”
Cantor tried to portray a possible national default after Aug. 2 as entirely in Senate Democrats’ hands if the House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) manages to pass his revised plan through the lower chamber.
“He continues to talk about the consequences and the economic damage that will occur if we go past Tuesday. He’ll have to deal with that. I hope he doesn’t choose that. Because in this bill there are things we don’t like,” Cantor said.
Cantor noted that Republicans have made concessions to Democrats in the House plan, such as the creation of a select, joint committee to assemble a $1.8 trillion deficit reduction package at the end of the year.
The GOP plan also includes $17 billion in funding for Pell Grants in 2012 and 2013, something that is unpopular with conservatives.
“The joint select committee is something that came from the Democrats. We don’t have all the cuts we like in this bill but we’re willing to compromise,” Cantor said.