By Robert Wang
U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, indicated Tuesday that he will not support any bill that lifts the federal debt ceiling if it includes any tax increases or if it fails to significantly cut federal spending.
"I want spending cuts equal to however much the debt ceiling is raised," said Stark County's congressman. "It's very crucial. No new taxes. No increase in taxes."
The U.S. Treasury Department says if it does not receive the authority from Congress to borrow more money by Aug. 2, the government won't have enough cash to pay all of its bills, which could result in a default in making debt payments and the failure to pay federal employees. President Barack Obama has said he cannot guarantee that Social Security payments could be made, comments which Renacci calls "bad political theater."
In past years, Congress has routinely lifted the debt ceiling. But this year, Republicans in Congress, many of them elected in 2010 as a result of support by the Tea Party movement, are refusing to raise the ceiling without a significant deficit reduction plan devoid of tax hikes.
"Default would be catastrophic for the United States and markets all over the world," Renacci said. "Default is not an option, but neither is continuing to kick the spending can down the road."
Renacci said without incurring more debt, the government would still have enough revenue to cover debt payments and Social Security.
"We will not default on our debt," he said. "So really the question becomes, "what don't we pay?'"