In a reversal from the “debt denial” stance of an increasing number of Republicans, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told ABC News he doesn’t question the notion that August 2 represents a deadline for the nation to increase its debt limit.
Asked if August 2 is the absolute deadline to reach an agreement or whether the date is an arbitrary target set by the Treasury Department, Cantor did not challenge the deadline.
“Secretary Geithner feels August 2 is his deadline,” Cantor told ABC News in an exclusive interview for the Subway Series with Jonathan Karl. “I don’t question the Secretary of the Treasury other than to say we’re trying to get in place real spending reductions — trillions of dollars of spending reductions — if the president wants us to increase the credit limit of this country by trillions of dollars.”
Believe it or not, this is a concession for Cantor. Just a month ago, he said that “The markets are not fooled by some date imposed to say that that is the trigger for the collapse.”
Last week, Geithner met with several House Republican freshmen and seemed to fail to convince them that default would trigger a catastrophic financial event. So this acceptance from the House leadership is somewhat important, in that it puts both parties on the same timeline with the same degree of urgency about the need for a deal.
Sen. Chuck Schumer referred to Cantor’s remarks in a press conference today. “Today, Leader Cantor said he believes Secretary Geithner,” Schumer said. “Some members of the rank and file are still in denial. We agree with Speaker (John) Boehner that an agreement is needed very soon.”
Late last week, Boehner said that a deal should be made by the end of the month to reduce any fears of default.