NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- The clock is ticking toward a possible federal government shutdown. Lawmakers have just five days to reach an agreement on spending before the budget expires Friday. The massive size of the federal deficit is the issue.
In an address to a room full of evangelical leaders at the National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday night, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called America's national debt a "moral hazard."
Fred Barnes, executive director of the Weekly Standard and commentator for Fox News Channel, discussed more of the spending crisis on the Feb. 28 edition of The 700 Club. Click play to watch the interview.
The speaker of the House of Representatives came to the evangelical audience with a moral message. However, it wasn't about abortion or marriage. He was talking about the country's national debt.
"We have a moral responsibility to deal with this threat to freedom and liberate our economy from the shackles of debt and unrestrained government," he said.
Boehner made clear that this fiscal crisis requires people to get on their knees.
"This immense debt is a moral hazard," Boehner said.
"When you begin to look at the big challenges that face our country both here and the challenges that we see abroad many people begin to realize that they better start praying as well," he added.
"Our goal is to cut spending, not shut down the government," Boehner told CBN News.
Democrats and Republicans will most likely agree to an extension to avoid a shutdown, but Boehner still wants spending cuts in the continuing resolution, or CR. Pro-life groups hope the House-approved defunding of Planned Parenthood is part of the deal. Boehner alluded to it during his speech.
"We're fighting to end taxpayer funding for abortion once and for all," he said.
"What we want to do here is win the war not just win a battle and there will be an opportunity sometime in order to win the big war and we're looking for that opportunity," he continued.
That's just one battle ahead. There are many others, including the entitlement reform in the budget where Boehner said President Barack Obama backed down.
"The president had an opportunity when he submitted his budget to deal with this and he melted like an ice cream cone on a Phoenix street in July," Boehner said.
Republican leaders will release their budget in about a month, but so far they haven't given any specifics when it comes to touching the dreaded third rail of politics -- Social Security.
Boehner said tough choices are going to have to be made. That's exactly why governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states have started to challenge the public employee unions in an effort make tough budget cuts.
"Over the last couple of years the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress bailed out the states where they could avoid making the tough decisions," he said. "Well, they're no more bailouts coming from Washington. We're broke! We're broke! We don't have money to dish out to the states."
It's all a part of Boehner's fiscal, moral message. A message that he hopes will resonate not just with evangelicals but all Americans.