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Congress Needs to Pass Debt Limit, Treasury Secretary Says

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has taken just that tack, rounding up fellow conservatives to pledge to oppose any budget extension that pays for implementation of the health care law. On Sunday, he said it was unfair to implement a law that many Americans don't want and that still has wrinkles that need to be ironed out.

"I understand that there's some in the Washington establishment, some from both political parties, that weren't happy with me over this," Lee said on Fox News Sunday. ''And in this instance, I'm going to take that as a compliment, an indication that I'm doing something right."

"The fact is that we can delay this bill," he added. "And if we can delay it, we can stop its consequences, at least for now."

Lew maintains that the president won't negotiate over the debt limit.

"The mere fact of negotiating over the debt limit, after 2011, would introduce this notion that somehow there's a question about whether or not we're going to pay our bills, whether or not we're going to protect the full faith and credit of the United States," Lew said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. ''Well, it's not OK to default. Congress can't let us default."

Congress "has to stop looking for what's the last possible moment," Lew told Fox News Sunday. ''They should get back after they take their time off in August and they should finish their work and get it done so that there's no uncertainty about America's ability to pay its bills."

Separately, Lew said no federal bailout is in the works for the city of Detroit, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Pressed as to why the government chose to bail out big banks, the auto industry and others, but isn't assisting the city, Lew said on CNN's State of the Union that the government has been giving Detroit technical advice and has made resources available to help take down blighted properties through federal programs.

But Lew said that the situation during the financial crisis that warranted the other bailouts was "unique," and that the current problems that Detroit has with its creditors, "it's going to have to work out with its creditors."
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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