OBAMA ADVISER: The Last Debt Ceiling Crisis Hurt Businesses As Much As 'Pearl Harbor Or 9/11'

Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council at the White House, warned against the dangers of another debt ceiling crisis on Sunday.
Sperling told reporters on a conference call that, according to business leaders who have shared their thoughts with the White House, the 2011 debate over raising the debt ceiling hurt consumer confidence on a level comparable with “Pearl Harbor or 9/11.”

“When the president met often with business leaders afterward, a couple of major companies came in and showed him … what 2011 meant to business,” Sperling said.

“Consumer confidence, from their perspective, was among the worst things they had seen [to consumer confidence] … things like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. This was when the default didn’t ultimately take place.”

In a push centered on the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis, the White House has warned against the possibility of a drawn-out debate over raising the debt ceiling.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that he would not negotiate with Congressional Republicans over a debt-limit increase like he did in 2011. He cast it as dangerous, unprecedented policy — threatening default over policy disagreements.

“If you take a look, what has never happened in the past was the notion that, in exchange for fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we are wiping away — let’s say major legislation, like the health care bill,” Obama said on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

“That’s never happened before. And when it comes to budgets, we’ve never had the situation in which a party said that, you know, ‘Unless we get our way 100%, then we’re going to let the United States default.’ That’s never happened.”

Obama is speaking in the Rose Garden Monday morning reflecting on the fifth anniversary of the crisis, during which he will mention the ongoing budget battles.

And the White House also released a report on Sunday night to mark the five years that have passed since the U.S. economy was initially thrown into turmoil. It noted the progress that has been made over the past few years, but it delivered a terse warning on the debt-ceiling and government shutdown debates.

“Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth,” the report said.

“And the last thing we can afford right now is a decision from Congress to throw our economy back into crisis by refusing to pay our country’s bills or shutting down the government.”

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