At a hastily convened news conference Friday evening, President Obama offered his explanation of why debt negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner fizzled, and he once again raised the specter of entitlement checks not going out if the debt ceiling isn’t raised soon.
“Well, when it comes to all the checks, not just Social Security -- veterans, people with disabilities -- about 70 million checks are sent out each month -- if we default then we’re going to have to make adjustments. And I’m already consulting with (Treasury) Secretary (Tim) Geithner in terms of what the consequences would be,” Obama said.
“We should not even be in that kind of scenario. And if Congress -- and in particular, the House Republicans -- are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then I think it’s fair to say that they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments.”
In the next breath, Obama said he’s “not interested in finger-pointing and I’m not interested in blame, but I just want the facts to speak for themselves.”
Obama said he’s getting letters from people who tell him they have to skip meals at the end of each month, as well as from senior citizens on Social Security “who are hanging on by a thread. Folks who have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet.” He also mentioned federal contractors “who have to wonder are they going to be able to get paid and what does that do in terms of their payrolls."
Obama said a “huge” number of people would be affected by a government default: “(I)magine what that does to the economy, when suddenly 70 million checks are put at risk. I mean, if you’re a business out there, that is not going to be good for economic growth. And that’s the number one concern of the American people.” ...
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