Some Republicans Don't Believe in the Debt Ceiling

Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin want a "grand bargain" in exchange for debt ceiling increase.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., listens during a news conference on the debt ceiling on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 21, 2011.
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Economists are dishing out their doomsday prophecies, sounding the alarm to Congress that not raising the debt ceiling on Oct. 17, could be catastrophic . A handful of Republicans in the Senate, however, aren't buying all the hype.

"If you don't raise your debt ceiling, all you are saying is that we are going to balance our budget," says Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. "If we balance our budget, the world is going to end?"

[READ: How a Default Will Affect Average Americans]

Sen. Tom Coburn,R-Okla., said Monday that there was "no such thing" as a debt ceiling, arguing the Treasury Department could prioritize its bills and continue to pay down interest on the debt even if Congress didn't vote to increase the country's borrowing limit.

"We will pay our debts. We will make the tough choices," Coburn says.

Others in the GOP argue that Oct. 17. is not a hard and fast deadline.

"I don't think playing around with the debt ceiling isn't a serious issue," says Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "But I think the real date, candidly, the date that is highly problematic for our nation, is Nov. 1."

That is when Corker says the U.S. has a number of bills due, but still few lawmakers have been able to find common ground.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is one of the few members of his caucus who believes Oct. 17 is the absolute deadline when the country will begin to default.

"We will see how the markets react and we will see who is right or wrong. I talk to a lot of people in New York who say the markets will react very negatively," McCains says. "Maybe they know something that I don't."

While the deadline to raise the debt ceiling might be up for debate, the reality is Congress is still entrenched in a bitter partisan two-pronged battle over raising the debt ceiling and funding the government.

"At this moment, I am not sure I see the path forward," Corker says following an hours-long meeting with Democratic colleagues.

[ALSO: Government Shutdown Could Slam Right Into Debt Ceiling]

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, introduced a plan Tuesday to appoint a so-called bipartisan working group to iron out the details for a "grand bargain" and get the government back up and running, but many Democrats rolled their eyes at the suggestion that a bipartisan deal could be struck this late in the game.

"I remember [the super committee] as well as anybody," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says referring to the 2011 group that ushered the country into a slew of fiscal showdowns. "It was very difficult and challenging and Republicans did not put any revenue on the table. Can you imagine us trying to do a super committee while the government is shut down? I just don't see how that plays."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., also ridiculed Boehner for trying a tactic that the White House and Democratic leaders in the Senate have already made clear is going nowhere.

"You don't negotiate whether you have a government functioning. You don't negotiate whether you pay your debts," says Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., however, broke with the party line that Democrats won't negotiate to raise the debt ceiling and demanded that it was worth a try.

[MORE: Debt Ceiling Default Could Be Worse Than the Recession, Treasury Says]

"I am looking for a bigger deal," Manchin said. "You have got to negotiate. That is what we are here to do."

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats, also urged everyone to come back to the negotiating table with just 9 days left before the debt ceiling deadline.

"I think many people, myself included, look back on the so-called super committee process two years ago as a missed opportunity," King says. "Maybe everyone is going to say 'let's not miss it again."

 

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