Sen. Coburn poo-poos 'rumor' of government defaulting on debt

Oct. 7, 2013 at 4:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Bucking warnings from the Obama administration, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said Monday the country would not default if no deal on the debt ceiling materializes.

"I would dispel the rumor that is going around that you hear on every newscast that if we don't raise the debt ceiling, we will default on our debt," Coburn told CBS' "This Morning." "We won't."

The country would still pay its interest, redeem bonds and issue new bonds to replace them, he said.

So the scenario of the United States defaulting on its debt is "not entirely accurate," he said.

He said there wasn't any such thing as a debt ceiling because Congress has always raised it.

"That's why we're $17 trillion in debt," he said.

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that Congress was "playing with fire" concerning the debt ceiling. He told CNN the government would have about $30 billion in cash on hand to pay its debts, but warned that was not a "responsible amount of cash to run the government on."

The Treasury Department has estimated that it will run out of "extraordinary measures" to keep paying the nation's bills on Oct. 17.

"If they don't extend the debt limit," Lew said, "we have a very, very short window of time before those scenarios start to be played out."

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