“I know the direction is bad,” Lew said about what would happen if the U.S. government defaulted on its debt. “There is a range of how bad. It is irresponsible and it is reckless to take that chance.”
“Despite these stakes, the president is refusing to negotiate,” Wallace countered, noting presidents have negotiated with Congress in the past over a variety of topics. “What’s unprecedented is not Congress tying strings; what’s unprecedented is a president refusing to negotiate.”
“Frankly, I think your history is wrong,” Lew said.
“With all due respect, your history is wrong,” Wallace responded. “This has happened over and over again, and presidents have negotiated.”
Watch the exchange here:
Wallace also pressed Lew on some of his latest comments, asking him if he and the president were intentionally trying to “panic the markets.”
“This week both you and the president seemed to be trying to panic the markets about both raising the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, saying that they should be more concerned,” Wallace said. “Aren’t your efforts failing to try to use the markets to put pressure on Republicans to cave?”
“You know, Chris, it’s my job to strengthen the economy,” Lew replied. “And I spend every day trying to do that.”
The “Fox News Sunday” host closed up the interview, repeatedly grilled Lew over how many individuals have enrolled in Obamacare during its first week.
“How many people have signed up, sir?” Wallace asked. “How many signed up?”
“I don’t have the exact number,” Lew responded.
“You don’t have any number?” Wallace asked, seemingly in shock, “Because the government refuses to tell us how many.”
“That’s the wrong question,” Lew said.
“No, it isn’t,” Wallace countered. “The question is, how many people have actually signed up?”
Lew never provided Wallace with a number during the segment.