White House: ‘Nobody Forced Congress to Rack Up the Bills That it Incurred’

January 7, 2013 - 5:39 PM

Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney placed the blame for the $16.4 trillion national debt on Congress, as he again asserted that President Barack Obama will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.

“Nobody forced Congress to rack up the bills that it incurred,” Carney told reporters on  Monday. “And it is an abdication of responsibility to say we’re going to let the country default and cause global economic calamity simply because we’re not getting what we want in terms of our ideological agenda.”

The national debt has increased by $5 trillion since Obama took office in 2009.

Obama and House Republicans had a showdown in 2011 over raising the limit on the amount of money the government can borrow – the debt ceiling -- when Republicans sought to reduce federal spending before borrowing more money.

That battle resulted in the compromise of forming a super committee from members of Congress to put together a debt reduction proposal or face automatic tax hikes and spending cuts (sequestration) by 2013, the so-called fiscal cliff.

On Jan. 1, Congress passed and Obama signed a negotiated deal to postpone the spending cuts and raise taxes only on incomes higher than $400,000. Although the payroll tax (for Security Security) rate is going up for all workers from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

Congress must reach a deal on the debt ceiling by either February or March.

obama winks

President Barack Obama winks as he arrives to make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff bill at the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“He is willing to compromise in order to achieve policies that advance our economic growth and help the economy create jobs and bring down our deficit in a responsible and balanced way,” Carney said of Obama. “He will continue to do that. We have as a result of the fiscal cliff, two more months to deal with the so-called sequester and that’s something the president will obviously be addressing.”

“What he will not do, as he has made clear, is negotiate with Congress over Congress’ sole responsibility to pay the bills that Congress has already incurred,” Carney said.

“Nobody forced Congress to rack up the bills that it incurred," he said.  "And it is an abdication of responsibility to say we’re going to let the country default and cause global economic calamity simply because we’re not getting what we want in terms of our ideological agenda. The president is not going to participate in that.”