Report: President Obama misled Congress during debt-ceiling showdowns
A House Financial Services Committee report obtained by The Daily Caller reveals Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials ran exercises during multiple congressional debt-limit crises demonstrating the federal government could function over the course of a temporary government shutdown – contrary to what President Obama said as he was selling Congress on an increase to the debt ceiling.
The staff report, to be released Tuesday, charges that [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew and other Obama administration officials deliberately misled Congress and the public during the federal budget and debt limit showdowns in [2011 and 2013]. The committee will convene a public hearing on the report Feb. 2.
The report also states that the Obama administration crafted actual contingency plans to pay for Social Security and veterans benefits, as well as principal and interest on the national debt if the government was temporarily unable to borrow more money. The Committee concludes that over the last two years the Treasury Department has “obstructed” congressional efforts to get to the bottom of the administration’s real-time policy during the two showdowns.
The Constitution stipulates that only Congress can determine how much money the federal government can borrow. Presidents thus cannot unilaterally spend beyond congressional debt ceiling limits set. The committee — chaired by Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas — charged that during both confrontations, the Obama administration held the country’s creditworthiness “hostage” by claiming default was the only possibility if the debt ceiling was not raised.
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