Boehner says debt ceiling battle will come with spending cuts
January 4th, 2013
11:11 AM ET
2 years ago

Boehner says debt ceiling battle will come with spending cuts

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner told members of his GOP conference Friday that he plans to use the upcoming battle over raising the federal debt ceiling as leverage for more spending cuts.

Speaking at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, Boehner said it was time to focus on spending now that the fiscal cliff has been temporarily averted.

"With the cliff behind us, the focus turns to spending," Boehner said, according to a source in the room. "The president says he isn't going to have a debate with us over the debt ceiling. He also says he's not going to cut spending along with the debt limit hike."

Right after the House passed the fiscal cliff compromise, President Barack Obama said, "I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed."

If the ceiling isn't raised by late February or early March, the United States runs the risk of defaulting on its obligations because the Treasury would no longer have enough money available to pay all the country's bills.

In the meeting, Boehner cited survey figures from a GOP-sponsored pollster showing a majority of Americans agreeing that increasing the debt limit must be paired with spending cuts.
"That's the principle I laid out before the Economic Club of New York in May of 2011, and I've repeated a number of times since. The debate is already underway," Boehner said, according to the source.

Spending cuts were not included in the final deal avoiding the fiscal cliff, despite a last-minute effort by Boehner to amend them into the bill. Some conservatives blamed Boehner for his handling of the fiscal cliff solution, and on Thursday he weathered some resistance in his re-election to the speaker post.

The speaker confirmed to CNN before the speakership vote that he's told his GOP colleagues he's going to back off attempting one-on-one negotiations with President Barack Obama to pre-cook major deals, after the two men failed to reach an agreement averting the fiscal cliff. The deal that eventually passed was brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate.

"Regular order works best," Boehner said – meaning he'll follow normal legislative process in the future by introducing bills in the House that would eventually be sent to the president.
Boehner added that he's "always happy to talk to the president."

CNN's Dana Bash and Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.


Filed under: Debt • John Boehner
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    Speaker Boehner's one on one meeting with the president is an exercise in futility since he can't deliver the votes from his unruly and undisciplined caucus. This debate shouldn't be a winner take all outcome but a compromise that both sides can live with. Perhaps the grownups in the Senate will lead the way.

    January 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Larry in Houston

    @Rudy NYC

    How come we're closing two wars that each cost two billion per week but yet somehow we cannot cut Defense Department spending?

    Maybe because Cheny & his cronies are still trying ? lol Halliburton has a skeleton Crew, now days, y'know. lol

    January 4, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. david

    Rudy NYC, the two wars ending will cut the deficit. That is whats been the culprit all these years...
    But the Repubs are trying to use these times to go after Medicare, SS, Welfare...etc....
    There logic is to cut other places, so they can have the budget to go to wars...

    January 4, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Can YOU personally live on chronic monsterous debt? Most people in America have to live within their means right? Why wouldn't the government operate under the same SIMPLE principle of living within its means?"
    ----------–
    We spending money on the stuff that George W. Bush put on the credit card. Bush's new policies have added $6 trillion to the national debt and still counting. Obama's new policies have added $1.4 trillion to the national debt, most of which is due to the Stimulus and the payroll tax holiday.

    January 4, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. alien

    Hope this is like the strategary he uses to get the olive out of the glass after his 6th martini

    January 4, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. John/kc

    It all comes back to revenue and spending. When the manufacturing of this country was off shored by the multi national corporations, the taxes paid from those lost jobs funded many programs in the USA. Put an import tariff on all that slave labor, no safety protection, no minimum wages products that are made overseas bringing back jobs and the taxes they pay to this country. That will help the debt along with a 30% cut in defense and social programs. Problem solved.

    January 4, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Charles

    Why not start by cutting billions of dollars of funding for defense projects that the Joint Chiefs have said, explicitly, that they neither want nor need?

    January 4, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Frustrated

    Serious discussion will start with defining "spending" to be cut. While the elimination of big bird, foreign aid and department of education might be popular to some such cuts will not come close to putting a dent in the deficit. The real meat is in defense, social security and health care. Problem is how to reduce these areas with minimal mayhem, likely over many years. At the age of 52 i do not expect to recoup all i have/will put into social security-that's ok. I believe the military is where change can occur over time to reduce expense-we need to discard the old tactics, support troops who have served and stop policing the world. Health care will be difficult-government will need to place limits and those with $$$ can supplement beyond limits. In short the three need to change-unfortunately people and politics make change difficult.

    January 4, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. callmecrazy

    Whenever a football team falls apart and looses a big game, the best thing to do is GET BACK TO BASICS. That is what Congress should do. Work on smaller bills. Do spending cuts, taxes, and everything else separately with out negotiating a "grand deal". And leave Obama out of the equation. Quit trying to make him a one term president, cause that ship has sailed you jerks.

    January 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Kelby in Houston, TX

    As long as they don't cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid...we are good

    January 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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