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Boehner warns White House of likely debt limit clash

WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday signaled a clash with the White House and the Democratic-led Senate over raising the U.S. borrowing authority later this year.

“We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters in Washington.

President Barack Obama and Senate leaders have said they wouldn’t accept anything short of a clean debt-limit increase.

“We will not negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills that Congress ran up,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday when asked about Boehner’s remarks.


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Any discussion about raising the debt ceiling must start with the premise that “we are the United States; we do not default,” Carney said. “The president believes Republican leaders share that conviction.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that Democrats are “not negotiating on the debt ceiling.”

Congress should pass a debt-ceiling increase without any “hijinks” to ensure a stable economy, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters July 18. “Attaching other issues to the debt ceiling is playing with fire,” he said.

Boehner said Tuesday that Congress needs to find “significant cuts” in federal spending to replace $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts over nine years.

In addition to spending cuts, Republicans say they’re determined to make changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Republican leaders have weighed whether to spell out the steps and timing of a tax-code rewrite as a trigger for raising the U.S. borrowing limit. Their goal is to curb tax breaks and use the resulting revenue to lower rates. House leaders haven’t provided details of their strategy.

In 2011, lawmakers fought for months over raising the nation’s debt limit. Obama signed a debt-limit increase into law on Aug. 2, 2011, the day the Treasury Department warned that U.S. borrowing authority would expire.

The bitter negotiations led to the Budget Control Act of 2011.