With funding for the last six months of this fiscal year finally settled, President Obama is preparing for two more fiscal battles with Congress: next year's budget and raising the debt ceiling. Republicans are threatening to vote against the latter, which could cause the U.S. to default on its debt, so the White House is urging the GOP to stop playing politics with the issue. But the tricky part is that in 2006, then-Sen. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling to score some points against the Bush administration's costly wars. Perhaps understandably, Obama now regrets that vote. Still, he'd like Republicans to do as he says, not as he does.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that Obama "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 the administration’s policies you can play around with," The Wall Street Journal's Carol E. Lee reports. Carney added that Republicans should not "play chicken with the economy" by threatening to vote against raising the debt limit--which will be reached by May 16, if it's not raised, could lead the U.S. to default on its debt--unless they get significant deficit-reducing concessions. "The consequences of not raising the debt ceiling would be Armageddon-like in terms of the economy." Earlier, then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama voted against raising the debt limit because he figured it'd pass anyway. Clearly the president hopes enough lawmakers decide against taking that bet.