House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has suggested that the chamber's Republican leaders are in no hurry to let the partial government shutdown end in a move designed to gain bargaining leverage on deals to fund federal agencies and increase the nation's borrowing limit.
As an Oct. 17 deadline nears for Congress to increase the federal government's debt ceiling or risk defaulting on its loans, the California Democrat said she fears House Republicans will wait until the eleventh hour to agree on an increase of the debt limit, but only as a condition for including anti-Obamacare provisions in legislation to end the government shutdown.
"I'm concerned now that the Republicans are trying to buy time in order to tie the shutdown of government to defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States of America," she told reporters Thursday.
If Congress fails to raise the federal government's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit, the nation will begin defaulting in its loans — a move economists say could trigger a global recession, or worse.
"That would be cataclysmic; it would be dangerous to our economy," Pelosi said.
President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have refused to negotiate on raising the debt limit, saying the action must be above politics. And while Republican leaders haven't demanded anti-Obamacare measures be linked to a debt limit increase, some rank-and-file Republicans have hinted at such a move.
"This is all about [President Obama's] Affordable Care Act that they want to overturn, defund, prolong, whatever it is," Pelosi said. Obamacare and raising the debt limit "have no connection to each other, and they should not be connected."
Pelosi added that Democrats would be willing to consider revisions to the health care law at another time. But she warned Republicans against using Obamacare as leverage to end the government shutdown and raise the debit limit.
"Let's take the full faith and credit of the United States of America off the table as a threat or as leverage or anything else," she said.