(WASHINGTON) — Sen. John Cornyn is one of a number of Republicans who have suggested that a partial government shutdown might be necessary in the coming months as Republicans and Democrats spar over a trio of deadlines — the debt ceiling, funding the government and dealing with automatic spending cuts.
But in an interview with the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle, Cornyn said the debt ceiling, at least, would be raised.
“We will raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to default on our debt,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board. “I will tell you unequivocally, we’re not going to default.”
Earlier this month, in the same paper, Cornyn pointed in an op-ed column to the trio of pending deadlines, including the debt ceiling, and suggested that a partial government shutdown might be in order to bring Washington spending in line.
“The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain,” Cornyn wrote on Jan. 4.
The Chronicle apparently asked Cornyn if his statement Thursday represented a change of position and the senator said the op-ed was a negotiating tactic.
“You sometimes try to inject a little doubt in your negotiating partner about where you’re going to go, but I would tell you unequivocally that we’re not going to default,” he told the paper.
House lawmakers, chiefly Rep. Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, have suggested a short-term raising of the debt ceiling.
President Obama has repeated over and over that he will not negotiate with Republicans on the issue of the debt ceiling.
“While I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up,” Obama said at a Jan. 14 White House news conference.
“We are not a deadbeat nation,” he said. “The consequences of us not paying our bills would be disastrous.”
Lawmakers have until the end of February to raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt limit. Whether or not that occurs in tandem with efforts to fund the government and avert the spending cuts remains to be seen.
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