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Washington (CNN) - White House Chief of Staff William Daley is still optimistic that some sort of deficit crisis deal will be worked out by Tuesday’s Treasury-imposed deadline. But he says he’s not so certain about the future of America’s AAA credit rating.
In an exclusive interview with me at the White House, Daley said, “The four leaders of the Congress have said that the debt ceiling will be extended” and he’s “confident that they will come together.”
However, Daley told me, “no one can guarantee” that the ratings agencies will keep America’s credit rating the same. He says they will be watching closely what Congress does in the coming days.
The stakes are clearly enormous. Daley confirmed that the Treasury Department is completing contingency plans on which bills to pay if there’s no deal.
He did insist that it’s critical that the Congress avoid going through another grueling credit ceiling debate within a few months. That’s why the president was so opposed to House Speaker John Boehner’s latest proposal in the House.
Daley, who endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s separate proposal, told me it’s been “a few days” since President Obama spoke with Boehner: “The truth is it looks as though the speaker is rather engaged in putting together his bill and getting the votes for his bill.”
The president’s chief of staff said that after the House and Senate wrap up their respective votes today and tomorrow, the two chambers will have to come together to work out a deal. That’s essential, he said, to ensure “the full faith and credit” of the United States.
The interview airs today in The Situation Room 5 p.m. ET.
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