By Molly K. Hooper - 05/10/11 08:22 PM EDT
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric CantorEric CantorVA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat High anxiety for GOP Webb: Broken trust, broken party MORE (R-Va.) scoffed at Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerReid: 'I have set the Senate' for nuclear option Immigration was barely covered in the debates GOP leaders advise members to proceed with caution on Trump MORE’s suggestion that financial markets will crumble if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by July 15.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered the warning on Monday, saying markets would suffer dire consequences if Congress didn’t soon act.
Cantor on Tuesday “questioned” Schumer’s contention, saying that he spoke with Wall Street traders and financial analysts who told him to “hold the line of cutting spending” and “don’t give in.”
“I heard so much to the contrary in his hometown of New York City today, yesterday that I just question that,” Cantor, who on Tuesday ran the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, told a gaggle of reporters gathered in his Capitol office.
Cantor made the remarks shortly before heading to the Blair House for a second meeting with a commission of lawmakers led by Vice President Biden that is trying to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling and reducing deficits. Republicans are demanding as much as $2 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling
Cantor said he couldn’t say when the House will vote on extending the debt limit, only that for a vote to be successful it must include “real change.”
The No. 2 ranking House Republican, who serves as his conference’s liaison to the Biden group, told reporters on Tuesday that “everything is on the table” in the spending fight.
“Right now we are looking at trying to achieve results and it all depends on what the deal looks like because we’re not going to go along with increasing the debt limit unless we receive real commitments and we can see a situation where there’s real results, real cuts, real reform,” Cantor said.
Cantor said holding a vote on a clean debt limit increase was “still under discussion.”
Such a vote would likely fail, since Republicans, who control the House, have vowed not to raise the current $14.3 trillion ceiling unless it is accompanied by major spending cuts and reforms to lower the deficit.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner indicated that he could make good on U.S. obligations until August 2nd, even after the U.S. hits the current limit in the next week or so.
Cantor said that for a vote on raising the debt ceiling to be successful, “there’s got to be assurances that the commitments are real and I can tell you, as long as we are in charge here, those commitments are going to be real.”
The Treasury Department says it needs at least $2 trillion in additional borrowing authority to make it past the 2012 election, but Cantor wouldn’t promise that an extension would last that long.
Some in the GOP would like to have several votes on short-term extensions, with spending cuts attached to each vote.
Cantor repeated “everything’s on the table” in terms of cuts, but Republicans have already ruled out raising taxes to pay down the debt. Democrats say some tax increases should be considered.