WASHINGTON -- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused both the president and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of misleading the American people about the need to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2, saying on Wednesday advisers to the president are lying about the urgency of raising the debt ceiling.
"The speaker is getting bad advice," Gohmert said at a press conference. "I guess the problem with the speaker and him saying that [the debt limit needs to be raised by Aug. 2] is that he listened to the president. I'll urge the speaker not to believe the president anymore."
Gohmert, along with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the president to pay off interest on the nation's debt first, if the debt limit is not increased by Aug. 2.
The debt limit of $14.29 trillion was reached on May 16, and the Treasury Department estimates that the nation will begin the process of defaulting on its debts Aug. 2, now less than three weeks away.
Lawmakers are meeting daily with the White House to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for major spending cuts -- potentially in the trillions of dollars -- and program reforms.
Under the bill, military service members and veterans would still get their checks on time if debt negotiations went on past the Aug. 2 deadline.
But according to Gohmert, King and Bachmann, the government does not need to raise its debt ceiling by Aug. 2 to continue paying interests on its debts and prevent default, or to continue paying military service members and veterans.
"It's a misnomer that the president has been trying to pass off on the American people," Bachmann said at a press conference for the bill.
Credit ratings agencies have warned they will downgrade the government's credit rating if it begins the process of defaulting on its loans.
But King, calling the president's statements on the debt ceiling "veiled threats, if not an ultimatum," said the nation's credit rating could remain intact even if the debt limit is not increased by Aug. 2, so long as their bill to pay interest on the debt was passed.
"Our credit rating, we're trying to preserve it with this bill," King said. "We want to guarantee our credit rating stays."
None of the three lawmakers responded to questions about who would not be paid should the debt ceiling not be raised by Aug. 2. A failure to raise the debt ceiling could cause a partial government shutdown in which Social Security checks might not be mailed.
But the members of Congress said the threat of shutdown was less important than ensuring major spending cuts as part of the final deal.
"President Obama is holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so he can continue his spending spree," Bachmann said. "We're saying, President Obama, is your spending spree that important to you?"
What happens if the U.S. defaults? See the slideshow below.
Slideshow by Mandy Jenkins
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more