ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of “holding the full faith and credit” of the country hostage over the debt limit increase, and helped introduce a legislative contingency plan if the country’s top-ranked leaders are unable to reach an agreement to raise the statutory debt ceiling.
“President Obama is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so that he can continue his spending spree,” the Minnesota congresswoman said. “We’re saying, ‘President Obama, is your spending spree really that important to you that you would put at risk the full faith and credit of the United States?’ We’re unwilling to do that.”
Bachmann is co-sponsoring new legislation with GOP Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas that would prioritize federal spending in the event that congressional leaders do not strike a deal to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2.
The trio says that the Payment Reliability for our Obligations to Military and Investors to Secure Essential Stability Act, known as the PROMISES Act, would first prioritize the payment of active duty military salaries and, secondly, authorize the Treasury Department to pay principal and interest on debt held by the public.
“What this bill does is it guarantees that we set a priority to pay our debts and bills,” King said, adding that the trio’s priorities would consume about 15.2 percent of revenue. “There’s still a lot of money left over for the president’s discretion to play political games, but let’s not do so with our military and let’s not let our national – the full faith and credit of the United States go to pot at the expense of political leverage.”
Bachmann was in campaign form on Capitol Hill, reminding reporters that she has been meeting with real Americans from important presidential primary and caucus states that are early on the 2012 calendar.
“The economy is tanking,” Bachmann said. “This is Washington. We’re all in a bubble here. I’m spending my time in Iowa, and South Carolina, and New Hampshire, and where the real world is. The real world is telling all of the politicians, ‘Get your act together, stop being political, stop playing with us. We’re not pawns in your game.’”
Bachmann has consistently downplayed the potential for catastrophe if a deal to increase the debt limit is not reached, and said she intends to vote against authorizing an increase.
“I’m ‘no’ on raising the debt ceiling right now because I’ve been here long enough that I’ve seen a lot of smoke and mirrors in the time that I’ve been here, but I haven’t been here long enough to forget who I serve or where I come from,” Bachmann added. “People across America are saying the spending is what has to be addressed. It’s too much. It’s got to be limited.”
The PROMISES Act also contains a provision that ensures that members of the Armed Forces are paid without interruption in the event that the government faces a funding gap.
Gohmert hinted that Bachmann could be the right person to solve the country’s debt crisis.
“Our service members and their families should not have to give it a second thought as to whether their paychecks come in on time,” the Texas congressman said. “I look forward to whether it’s this president, or perhaps another one – even somebody here in this room – who will stand up and say we’re going to be OK and here’s the plan to get us there, and I think this bill is a good start to doing that.”
At the outset of the Q & A with reporters, Rep. King said that members would only answer questions related to the newly introduced legislation, so Bachmann did not field questions about her presidential campaign.
As the news conference ended, Bachmann ignored a question about when she will comment on her family’s counseling center, where an investigation found that some of the therapists preach prayer to cure homosexuality.