Boehner: Include GOP Priorities in Debt-Limit Talks

Image: Boehner: Include GOP Priorities in Debt-Limit Talks

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 12:18 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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House Speaker John Boehner called on lawmakers and President Barack Obama Thursday to agree to new budget cuts and other Republican priorities as part of a bill to raise the nation's overall debt limit.

"For decades, the White House [and] the Congress have used the debt limit to find bipartisan solutions on the deficit and the debt," the Ohio Republican said. "So President Obama is going to have to deal with this, as well."

But Democrats spoke out against Boehner's renewed call for debt deal tied spending cuts, The Wall Street Journal reports, and new fears emerged after his remarks that a another budget battle could again trigger fears of a government shutdown and affect the stock market.

Obama has said he will not negotiate with Republicans on terms for raising the nation's borrowing limit and that Congress must allow payments to go through to fund spending that's already been approved. But Boehner charged that Obama's stance departs from that of previous administrations, when budget changes were made to accommodate debt-limit increases.

"You can't talk about increasing the debt limit unless you're willing to make changes and reforms that begin to solve the spending problem that Washington has," the speaker told reporters.

Boehner said he met Wednesday with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew , who told him the White House would not agree to talks because of the 2011 budget showdown that nearly caused the government to miss making payments on its debt obligations.

Boehner did not say what specific spending cuts he would like the White House and Democrats to agree to, but House tea party conservatives continue to insist on the elimination of Obamacare funding in return for approving a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating beyond Oct. 1.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, however, said Thursday the president would reject any bill defunding the Affordable Care Act. Obama, though, would agree to a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government running while budget talks proceed, Carney said.

 The fierce opposition in the Republican-controlled House to Obamacare is making it difficult for Boehner even to bring up a stopgap spending bill for a vote before Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were forced to put their own proposal to extend funding at current level through Dec 15 on hold after conservatives complained the plans would continue to fund Obamacare.

On Thursday, during a bipartisan meeting between House and Senate leaders, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly asked Boehner what other concessions could be made to satisfy House conservatives.

According to the Journal, aides to the leaders said Boehner replied that only defunding Obamacare would appease GOP conservatives.

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