Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, suggested this week that the U.S. can’t default on its debt even if the debt ceiling is not raised, as long as the government stays shut down.
Gohmert told Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg on Tuesday that the “threat of default” is being used by President Barack Obama to end the shutdown, although the only way that could happen is if the president conspired not to pay the nation’s bills.
“He’s been saying ever since the shutdown and before the shutdown that he’s willing to talk,” Gohmert said. “But he will not negotiate on anything, and he’s the one who keeps bringing up the threat of default and that kind of stuff. You know, it’s ridiculous to have a president that is trying to inflict as much hurt on the American people as possible.”
“Do you believe that this president will let this country face the disaster that it will face if the debt ceiling — if we default?” Malzberg asked. “Do you believe he will take it that far and inflict the pain to a much greater extent than he’s inflicting it now?”
“That’s a possibility when you look at what he has done so far,” Gohmert said.
“They don’t mind seeing America suffer," he continued. "And when you know — as I know you do — that we have enough money coming in every week to pay our — to keep from defaulting — now, we may have to keep some folks furloughed. Because as we know now, 94 percent of the EPA is non-essential. You know, we may have to ask some folks that are non-essential to stay home for a while longer.
“But there is no reason we should ever, ever default on our debts unless the president and the treasury secretary conspire to make us default,” he said.
Gohmert claims the government is spending more money keeps National Parks closed than paying the 30,000 parks employees who are now furloughed.
"We've got inquiries . . . to find out how much did you spend to close down open-air monuments and parks and roads that you don't spend a dime of money on," he said.
He accused the president of Al Capone-style thuggery.
"But we know he is willing to spend money just to inflict hurt … and it has more to do with Chicago thuggery. You know, Al Capone was willing to make people hurt if they didn't go along with the proposals," he added.