White House: No backup plan for debt limit

May 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- A senior White House official said Wednesday the U.S. government has no Plan B if Congress doesn't raise the debt limit to keep the government solvent.

"There is no plan that can preserve our credit rating. There really is no alternative to raising the debt limit. It has to be raised before the deadline ... well in advance of the deadline, Politico reported the unidentified official as saying.

The Treasury Department has warned that failure to raise the $14.29 trillion debt limit, which would stop the government from borrowing, would be catastrophic. The government, essentially, would go into default.

Republicans, however, have threatened to withhold their votes on raising the borrowing limit unless there is a viable deficit reduction plan in the works.

The Treasury is already enacting extraordinary measures to keep the government's bills paid, as the borrowing limit was reached Monday.

White House officials, quoting a letter from President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, James Baker, said failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in a "global economic and financial calamity."

Baker's letter was written to Congress n 1987, Politico said.

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