Washington, D.C. -- The United States Secretary of the Treasury gave a dire warning for the future of the U.S. economy, if the debt limit isn't raised, and the government isn't re-opened. However, Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) says that won't fix the real problem with the nation's finances.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testified before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday. Senator Crapo is a senior member of that Committee, and he and Lew got into a spirited debate.
Secretary Lew says he wants the "manufactured political crisis" to end, and warned of an actual financial crisis if the U.S. is not able to pay its bills come October 17. "The president is willing to talk and wants to talk, but it can't be with the U.S. economy being threatened if one small part of Congress doesn't get its way."
But, Crapo questioned Lew on the nation's long-term debt crisis and how that relates to raising the U.S. borrowing limit one more time, figuratively (in his opinion) kicking the can down the road. "So we need another trillion dollars or more of debt authorized before we can even discuss whether to start reforming entitlements, whether to start reforming the tax code?"
Secretary Lew responded, "Senator, what we believe is that the government needs to open. Congress needs to open the government, and Congress needs to make it possible to pay our bills, and we need to engage. And, we're ready to do that."
House Republicans might be ready to do that too. Republicans proposed raising the debt ceiling through November 22. In return, they want President Obama to negotiate over ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling in the longer term.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador says he likes the idea, "It's actually a great plan. I brought it to Cantor about two days ago. I told him that this would be a good way forward."
The shutdown is in its 10th day.