Professor: Decision on debt ceiling could affect military pay

Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
POSTED: 05:56 PM MDT Oct 08, 2013    UPDATED: 06:15 PM MDT Oct 08, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A UCCS finance professor told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that if the debt ceiling is not raised, it could affect the millions of military personnel in southern Colorado.

"The estimate right now is the government is going to simply run out of money on Oct. 17," said Thomas Zwirlein.  "By law, when the treasury runs out of money, it has to stop issuing the checks.  Since we have a lot of military retirees receiving benefits...it certainly does affect this area."

At a news conference Tuesday, President Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for the negotiations they are demanding, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week.

"Republicans are very hesitant to do that because they want to resolve some other issues," Zwirlein said.  "We can't continue to pile on more and more debt. It'll eventually come back to haunt us."

House Speaker John Boehner, speaking Tuesday afternoon after what he called a "pleasant" but ineffectual phone call with Obama, rejected the president's comments as nothing new.

"What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us," Boehner told reporters. "That's not the way our government works."

Zwirlein said he believes eventually Congress, though reluctantly, will agree to raise the debt ceiling before the deadline.  Neither side wants to let the government default, Zwirlein said, and global markets would find it "disturbing."

Read more stories about the government shutdown here.