Erskine Bowles, former co-chair of President Barack Obama's debt commission, indicated on CNBC that Thursday's deadline set by the Treasury to increase the debt ceiling may be flexible.
"My best bet is Thursday's a soft date," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview on Monday. "I think it would have real adverse effects in the [financial] market, if we don't go by Thursday."
There have been questions raised about exactly when the U.S. would default on its obligations, should the Thursday deadline to hike the nation's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit not be met.
One faction of the Republican Party has said there's no such deadline, because the U.S. has plenty of revenue to pay the interest on the federal debt. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told "Squawk Box" as long as the interest is paid, there would be no U.S. default. Other government obligations, like Social Security, can go unpaid if necessary, he argued.
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"But here's the deal," countered Bowles, co-chair of the Fix the Debt group, which launched a new national advertising campaign Monday. "I would open the government. I'd pay our bills. And I'd set up a tight time frame to negotiate this deal." The government shutdown entered Day 14 on Monday.
"They're like children, except they don't have any good manners," he said. "We've made promises we can't deliver on. That's what we have to admit, whether it's on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security."