Boehner: Republicans Will Not Pass 'Clean' Debt-Limit Hike

Image: Boehner: Republicans Will Not Pass 'Clean' Debt-Limit Hike

Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 06:04 PM

 

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House Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that there is "no way" Republican lawmakers will agree to a measure to raise the nation's debt ceiling unless it includes conditions to rein in deficit spending.

Pressed on the ABC news program "This Week" on whether the Republican-led House would pass a "clean" debt ceiling increase that included no conditions, Boehner replied: "I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one."

"We're not going down that path," he added. "It is time to deal with America's problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?"

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

As the country moved into the sixth day of a government shutdown, Boehner was equally adamant that Republicans would demand concessions for any bill to reopen the government.

Republicans want changes to President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as Obamacare as a condition for backing a measure to fund government agencies. Obama and the Democratic-led Senate have rejected that demand.

Obama has also said it is the responsibility of Congress to raise the debt limit by an Oct. 17 deadline when the government will begin running short of the funds needed to pay its bills. He has said he will not negotiate with Republicans over that issue.

On the impasse over the government shutdown, Boehner said there had "absolutely not" been any changes in the Republican position on the bill to fund the government.

Boehner said there are not enough votes in the House to pass a "clean" continuing resolution on the budget to re-open the government.

Boehner was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about a group of 195 House Democrats and 21 Republicans who have said they are willing to pass a six-week "clean CR" without defunding Obamacare.

"There may be a back room somewhere," Boehner said, "but there's nobody in it."

Boehner repeated the recent GOP line that his party has tried to compromise by passing several bills that would fund parts of the government while talks continue. Democrats have rejected all but a bill to fund military pay because they say the effort is a ploy to simply fund every part of government individually except the Affordable Care Act.

"It begins with a simple conversation," Boehner said. He used the word "conversation" a total of 22 times in the interview, saying President Barack Obama knows his phone number and can call him any time.

Stephanopoulos played past quotes from Boehner in which he has said Obamacare is the law of the land and in which he has said defunding Obamacare should not be tied to the budget.

Boehner acknowledged making a promise to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass a clean CR that included $70 billion less than what the Senate wanted.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

However, he said, "I and my members decided that the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand – and we took a stand."

Greg Richter contributed to this report.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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