Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that he opposes an increase to the federal debt limit, on which Congress will vote as early as next week.
"I don’t think it’s in the country’s interest to raise the debt limit," Perry said on CNN. "We need to address the spending issue."
Perry's remark came during what could be a preview of the 2016 presidential race, when Perry and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, widely considered to be potential presidential candidates, sparred Wednesday on CNN's "Crossfire."
An increase to the debt limit would not, as Perry suggested, address federal spending; instead, it merely authorizes debts already incurred by the federal government. If the $16 trillion limit isn't increased, the United States could default on its financial obligations as soon as mid-October, Treasury officials said.
House Republican leaders warned their rank and file that they do not plan to risk the full faith and credit of the United States by blocking an increase to the debt limit, but the GOP might try to use approval of the debt increase as leverage on other legislative priorities or to make a political point.
The last time the White House and Congress considered a debt limit increase, the fight was so protracted and fierce that rating agencies stripped the federal government of its AAA credit rating. It dropped to AA+.