Rep. Barton on debt limit: Bills only need to be ‘paid partially’ like ‘my household budget’

By David Edwards
Monday, October 7, 2013 11:58 EDT
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Joe Barton speaks to CNBC
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Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on Monday said that he would fight against raising the nation’s debt ceiling and had a simple plan to avoid default, which involved not paying “every bill the day it comes in.”

“The debt ceiling in my mind is a bigger issue is that Obamacare, I want a real debt ceiling with real reforms in entitlements and a way to get the budget balanced in the next five years,” Barton told CNBC. “I’m not going to vote for the so-called clean debt ceiling where we just give the president a blank check. I will not vote for that.”

Although, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned over the weekend that the nation was risking default if the debt ceiling was not raised, the Texas congressman said that the country could avoid economic disaster by simply treating its bills like his own household budget.

“We have in my household budget some bills that have to be paid and some bills that only paid partially,’ Barton explained. “I think paying interest on the debt has to be paid. I think paying Social Security payments have to be paid. I don’t think paying the secretary of energy’s travel expenses have to be paid 100 cents on the dollar.”

He added: “This talk about default by the U.S. Treasury is nonsense. The president can be smart or the president can be stupid. And I would assume as smart as President Obama is when push comes to shove, he’ll be smart.”

“So, we are not going to default on the public debt. But that doesn’t mean that we have to pay every bill the day it comes in.”

As Think Progress noted, experts have described the debt prioritization scheme touted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others as “essentially impossible” because it would still result in defaulting on many obligations.

Watch this video from CNBC’s Squawk Box, broadcast Oct. 7, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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