McConnell Leery That Debt Ceiling Hike Will Be a 'Clean' One

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 05:48 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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The Senate’s top Republican said Tuesday he "can't imagine" raising the nation's debt ceiling in 2014 will be a "clean" one, suggesting another brutal battle ahead with Democrats, Politico reports.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a veteran negotiator in the debt ceiling standoff in 2011 and this October's government shutdown, was leery that the House or the Senate would allow President Obama's debt limit proposal go uncontested.

"I doubt" many GOP members in the House or Senate would agree to lifting the country's borrowing authority without conditions attached. I can't imagine it being done clean," he said, according to Talking Points Memo.

McConnell suggested it would be up to the House GOP majority to come up with demands in order to avert a default. “I think the debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together and gets the president’s attention, which with this president, particularly when it comes to reducing spending, has been a bit of a challenge."

McConnell declined to answer what specific demands he would like to see attached to a debt limit hike that could happen as early as February or March or possibly as late as June.

The statutory debt limit deadline is Feb. 7.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) indicated House and Senate Republicans would get together soon to determine its demands. The budget deal agreement he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) authored does not address the debt ceiling issue.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he "can’t imagine the Republicans want another fight on [the] debt ceiling.

The White House isn't taking the GOP's threat of default seriously. President Obama is against making any concessions to raise the debt ceiling, arguing that it's Congress' job to pay the bills. "The President's position has not changed," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

"The debt limit is going to be increased and Democrats are not going to negotiate over this," a Democratic Senate leadership aide told TPM in response to McConnell's remarks.

"The only question is how much pain Republicans want to cause for themselves and the economy before that happens."

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