US senator: spending cuts, debt ceiling linked

AP News
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Posted: Apr 20, 2011 10:19 AM
US senator: spending cuts, debt ceiling linked

Republicans in the U.S. will want strict spending limits imposed on Congress if they are to meet White House demands to raise the debt ceiling, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate said Wednesday.

Sen. Jon Kyl, who was named this week to a new U.S. bipartisan panel tasked with deficit reduction, says its success is dependent on cuts.

"I can't imagine that we can reduce the deficit without some kind of restraint," the Arizona senator said during a visit to Latvia with three other Republican lawmakers to discuss security issues with the small NATO ally.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has informed Congress that the government will reach its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling no later than May 16. He can manage to keep the government running until about July 8 by juggling funds. But after that, the government would not be able to pay its bills and it would default on the nation's debt.

The new panel, which will be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden, is the second created by President Barack Obama to seek a bipartisan solution on reducing deficits. It is expected to hold its first meeting at the beginning of May.

The new group comes as must-pass legislation to maintain the government's ability to borrow comes to a head. Obama has said spending cuts must be part of the effort.

Kyl praised Latvia for the austerity measures the Baltic state has carried out in recent years as it struggled with the worst recession in the 27-member European Union, saying the U.S. should follow its example.

The other senators traveling with Kyl were Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.