U.S. business leaders who met with President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday are warning of "serious" consequences if lawmakers fail to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a long-term government shutdown.
After the meeting, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein told reporters that all the CEOs who make up the Financial Services Forum agree that the repercussions of not extending the nation's borrowing authority would be "extremely adverse."
Blankfein is the chairman of the policy group and appeared outside the White House with the group's vice chairman, Brian Moynihan -- president and chief executive officer of the Bank of America.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the government will run out of money to pay its debts "no later than October 17" if Congress does not raise the country's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit.
Outside the White House Wednesday, Blankfein reiterated a viewpoint expressed by President Obama that lawmakers should not use the threat of a default as a weapon.
"You can litigate these policy issues, you can re-litigate these policy issues in a political forum, but they shouldn't use the threat of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligations to repay its debt as a cudgel."
Parts of the U.S. government shut down October 1 after Congress failed to agree on a spending bill to fund operations. President Obama has described the situation as a "Republican shutdown" and accused Republican lawmakers of holding the "entire economy hostage."
But Blankfein says he and the other Wall Street CEOs are apolitical and meeting with leaders in the Republican Party, in addition to Democrats like Mr. Obama.
(c) 2012 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.
Original headline: US CEOs: 'Serious' Consequences if Debt Ceiling Isn't Raised
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