Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will head to Capitol Hill on Thursday to urge House freshmen to support an increase in the debt ceiling or risk being responsible for potential fiscal disaster, POLITICO’s Morning Money first reported Wednesday.
With the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the limit two months away, Geithner will speak to freshmen — a group dominated by tea party-backed fiscal conservatives — as part of the Obama administration’s broader efforts to get Hill Republicans to see the danger the administration is warning about if the limit is not boosted.
Geithner’s visit to the Hill will follow a Wednesday trip by dozens of House Republicans to the White House to demand trillions of dollars in cuts from President Barack Obama in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling.
On Tuesday, the House voted 318-97 against a bill that would have endorsed a “clean” increase on the debt ceiling without any spending cuts. Republicans wanted the bill to fail to show that spending cuts would be a necessary part of any deal to raise the debt limit.
Republican freshmen, many elected on platforms built on cutting federal spending and reducing the federal debt, are particularly dug in about the debt ceiling, but Geithner will try to make the case that inaction could result in a major blow to the U.S economy.
And some freshmen, at least, say they are open to being persuaded.
“I’m a ‘no’ until I can be convinced that Washington is serious. I’m not a ‘yes’ with these stipulations,” one freshman, Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), told POLITICO last month. “You convince me, for a reason, why I need to be a ‘yes.’ That takes methodical conversation, and I’ve not had that. I’ve not seen that. That’s not just by our leadership, that’s by our administration—we’re all in the same boat here.”
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