MS. AMANPOUR: Does the president have his own plan? What is on the table? You saw Speaker Boehner saying where are the president's cards.
MR. LEW: I think the speaker knows quite well how far the president is willing to go. There have been detailed conversations on many, many subjects. And I think the president has shown that he's willing to move into a space that is a very hard place for Democrats to go. And the challenge is can we find a place where there will be some kind of fairness and balance.
And, you know, leadership takes partnership as well. The president has shown a willingness to go there. We need a partner to work with.
MS. AMANPOUR: If it gets down to that, would the president, as Representative Cantor suggests, do a one-year extension to save the country from going into default?
MR. LEW: The president's been very clear on that subject. It would be a very unacceptable outcome to have a one-year --
MS. AMANPOUR: But would he do it?
MR. LEW: He's made clear that he will not --
MS. AMANPOUR: That's still his position?
MR. LEW: -- have this debate over should we raise the national debt a year from now. It will be a bad thing for the economy and a bad thing for the country.
MS. AMANPOUR: So to be clear, the country could be pushed into default then?
MR. LEW: No. I do not believe the country will be pushed into default. I think Congress know what it has to do. It's got time to do it. The president's made clear what he's prepared to do. And the parties are going to have to come together. It's kind of unfortunate that things always have to get to the last minute.
Sometimes, there are no consequences. Right now, we're in a place where the world is watching, and we should get our business done. Congress should get its job done, and the president's been working every day for the last month trying to work with them to get it done.
MS. AMANPOUR: And some kind of a deal -- whether it's the grand bargain or the Mitch McConnell last-ditch effort plus whatever it might be, would the president agree to any deal that does not include revenue raising?
MR. LEW: I think the president made clear that there are reasonable steps that can be made to reduce spending. We've already made many, many deep cuts in spending. There's more restraint that we think is in order. He's made it clear that, for a big deal, there will have to be balance between revenue and spending. The question is how much can we get done.
And the president's view is clear. We should get as much done as we possibly can to give assurance to the market and to the American people that we've got our fiscal house in order.
MS. AMANPOUR: So if you had to predict right now, what would be the deal that will get done to avoid this deadline, this potential catastrophe, as you're calling it?
MR. LEW: So I think the minimum is I believe the debt will be extended. I think notwithstanding the voices of a few who are willing to play with Armageddon, responsible leaders in Washington are not.
Our efforts over these next days will be to, in addition to that, do as much as we possibly can to make the tough decisions. This is a question of leaders coming together and saying we're going to do hard things on both sides and the time is now. As the president said, if not now, when.
MS. AMANPOUR: On that note, Jack Lew, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.