Senate Democratic Leaders sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday urging him to take "any lawful steps" to avoid allowing the U.S. to default on its debts.
The letter comes as some Republicans are demanding significant spending cuts before they will sign off on any increase in the debt limit.
"In the event that Republicans make good on their threat by failing to act, or by moving unilaterally to pass a debt limit extension only as part of unbalanced or unreasonable legislation, we believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis -- without Congressional approval, if necessary," the Democratic Leaders wrote.
The remarks come amid recent reports indicating that the Treasury could mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin to get around the debt ceiling.
While the Democratic Leaders expressed a willingness to reach a fiscal policy agreement that reduces the long-term budget deficit, they agreed with Obama's view that the debt limit is not something that should have to be negotiated.
The letter was signed by Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-N.V., and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Schumer, D-N.V., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the Democrats' request "the height of irresponsibility."
"The Democrat leadership hiding under their desks and hoping the President will find a way around the law on the nation's maxed-out credit card is not only the height of irresponsibility, but also a guarantee that our national debt crisis will only get worse," McConnell said in a written statement.
He added, "Democrats in Washington are falling all over themselves in an effort to do anything they can to get around the law—and to avoid taking any responsibility for Washington's out-of-control spending."
McConnell said that the Democrats' proposals ranged from "ridiculous" to an "outright abdication" of their responsibilities.
In late December, outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter to Congress indicating that the U.S. debt limit would be reached on December 31st.
However, Geithner noted that the Treasury Department is taking certain extraordinary measures to create approximately $200 billion in headroom under the debt limit, which would last about two months.
by RTT Staff Writer
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