KANDAHAR (Reuters) – The United States may not be able to pay the balances of U.S. troops in the event of a default, said Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff America on Saturday in Afghanistan.
A few days of the deadline set by the U.S. Treasury, Democrats and Republicans are still unable to reach agreement on raising the debt ceiling.
The Pentagon is preparing for this eventuality, said Mike Mullen after U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan had expressed concerns about the state of the world’s largest economy.
So I honestly can’t answer that question,” he told troops at Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan, as several expressed anxiety over budget wrangling in Washington.
“So if pay checks were to stop, it would have a devastating impact,” Mullen acknowledged. “I’d like to give you a better answer than that right now, I just honestly don’t know,” he said.
A little later, during a visit to troops based in the Leatherneck camp in Helmand province, Mullen played down the impact of a possible default on U.S. military operations conducted abroad.
“I do not expect that it affects the operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world,” he said. “We will continue to work.”
Polls show a majority of Americans favor a compromise on raising the debt ceiling.