Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said today that he would vote no to raise the debt ceiling, if concessions to reform Social Security and Medicare were not made, despite a previous statement by Graham to suggest that most Republicans were never willing to stomach a U.S. default back in 2011.
“Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare,” Graham said today on “Fox News Sunday.”
Graham’s not alone. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview earlier this month on “Fox News Sunday” that House Republicans will never give up control of the debt ceiling.
“It’s the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone,” Boehner said.
Congress voted in July to avert a U.S. default as part of a larger deficit reduction package, but not before the uncertainty cost the federal government $1.3 billion due to higher borrowing costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.
After Congress reached a deal in 2011, Graham told Politico that, in the end, Republicans weren’t willing to let the country default.
“Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months. How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit?’ You know, Mitch [McConnell] says, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit unless we talk about Medicare.’ And I’ve said I’m not going to raise the debt limit until we do something about spending and entitlements.’ So we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves,” Graham said.
“We shouldn’t have said that if we didn’t mean it.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither wrote a letter to Congress this week warning that the United States is fast approaching its debt limit and that the country would likely default without action in the next couple of months.
Most economists believe that a U.S. default would throw the worldwide economy into chaos.