President Obama today held the final press conference of his first term, and used the opportunity to reiterate that he is not interested in negotiating with House Republicans over the debt ceiling. “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy,” Obama said:
Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to. These are bills that have already been racked up and we need to pay them…[House Republicans] will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.
“We are not a deadbeat nation,” Obama reiterated later. The last time that House Republicans threatened to push the U.S. past the debt ceiling, it cost nearly $19 billion in increased interest payments in the national debt. Obama also noted that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) admitted in 2011 that breaching the debt ceiling would bring about a “financial disaster.”