Military Pay, Vets’ Checks Under Threat in Spending Cuts Battle

Contributor:  Mike O'Brien
Posted:  01/15/2013  12:00:00 AM EST
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Active-duty troops may be forced to go without pay if the government is shutdown over the debt ceiling battle being raged between Congress and the White House.

Checks for veterans could also be delayed in the ensuing chaos, President Obama has warned.

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the government would not be able to avoid defaulting on its debts between mid-February and early March.

Previous governments have routinely asked Congress to raise the debt limit so that the country can pay its bills and carry on borrowing money.

But the House of Representatives is threatening to not raise the debt ceiling unless there are spending cuts on the table, reports.

President Obama said: "If congressional Republicans refuse to pay Americans bills on time, Social Security benefits and veterans' checks will be delayed.

"We might not be able to pay our troops or honor our contact for small business owners."
"I'm willing to find compromise and common ground on how to reduce the deficit … but there's no room to debate about paying bills Congress has already racked up."

Mr. Obama added: "We can act responsibly and pay America's bills, or act irresponsibly and put American through another economic crisis … We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis."

Republicans such as Sens. Pat Toomey, John Cornyn and Rep. Charlie Dent have said that getting tough by partially shutting down the government may be necessary to get agreements on spending cuts.

Another Republican, Scott Rigell, however, has criticized the idea of supporting a government shutdown.

Mr. Rigell appeared on C-SPAN on Tuesday where he stated he was not against raising the debt ceiling to allow the government to pay off its bills, while admitting his view was disliked by some of his political colleagues.

Speaking of the shutdown threat, he said: "Okay, let's walk through that. What we're basically saying is, we're going to balance the federal budget not over time, but in a moment, in a day.

So the next morning, what are we going to pay? Do you think we ought to pay the troops? Most people would say, 'Oh gosh, absolutely!' Well, what about those receiving Medicare? 'We need to do that, they're dependent on that.' What about Social Security? 'Well certainly, we earned that, we paid into that'."

Mike O'Brien Contributor:   Mike O'Brien

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