Boehner says debt ceiling battle will come with spending cuts
January 4th, 2013
11:11 AM ET
1 year 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. California Gary

    Boehner has a lot of gall to be talking about holding the country hostage again on the debt ceiling issue. That worked out so well last time......I guess he doesn't have a problem with our credit rating taking a hit, the markets taking a big hit (here and globally), and the economy in general taking a hit. He really has our best interests at heart.

    January 4, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. ST

    They have been working irresponsibly. Now they want to punish everyone (with their crazy cuts) because of their negligence!

    January 4, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Bill from GA

    The republicans had their chance with spending cuts with the Ryan budget. Even their presidential candidate ran AWAY from those extreme measures. Even Newt thought it was too extreme.

    Obama ran for President on his tax plan, and was reelected. If republicans had run on measures such as privatizing Medicare, as the Ryan budget does, they would have been more soundly defeated.

    Cut spending with a sensible budget, but pay the bills already incurred. Americans are tired of this posturing, with no real solutions from Congress.

    January 4, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "With the cliff behind us, the focus turns to spending," Boehner said"

    Good luck getting all those red states on board with your spending cuts, Mr. Boehner. I'm looking forward to the "debate". It's been way too long for red-staters to continue living their "freebie" lifestyle. It's about time they pay their fair share too. You know. All those unemployed, lazy, white welfare moms and dads living off the government. Yeah. I'll include the disabled white men too. They're a lazy lot, as ever I've seen. And yes, I've seen a lot of "them" in my lifetime.

    January 4, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Jt_flyer

    I very seldom agree with anything Boehner say but this time i do. We do need to cut spending. Period. We need compromise in this country.

    January 4, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. poule_doux

    Since when did Boehner care about polls? Polls said taxes should be raised on people making over $250K, didn't seem to bother him.

    January 4, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. zephon

    Cut defense spending.

    There is no valid reason other than keeping the Military Industrial Complex fat cats fat for not cutting defense spending drastically.

    The USA military is larger than the rest of the world's combined. We also sell more weapons to the rest of the world than all the other nations combined.

    Protect Social Security and Medicare Insurance programs.

    January 4, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Marcia

    so cuts- then how about more taxes for those over 250,000 and military cuts-close all those bases-and the cuts should be to congressional salaries since they do hardly any work and to their lifetime health plan which is better than everyone elses in the country

    January 4, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. cyp

    I believe the problem is that the Republican party is now a dysfunctional mess and anything they can cling on for dear life will work for them. You owe the money, pay your bills just like all of us do.

    January 4, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Gregory M. Newbold

    John, be quiet. You are a paper tiger. You have no credibility.

    It is laughable, literally laughable, that John Boehner is 2nd in line for the Presidency should a calamity befail our country. You hear that sound? It`s France, Italy, Britain, Japan, Iran, both Koreas LAUGHING at us simply because of Boehner.

    January 4, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Ethan Robertson

    Why don't they start making budget cuts now and not wait for the debt ceiling issue to come up? These last minute dog and pony shows have to stop.

    January 4, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Aaron Keedy

    We can and should cut military spending. We can do this without impacting our national security. The NRA membership includes 4.3 million armed citizens soldiers. That's more soldiers that what we have in our Armed Forces. Cut our military forces and let the "well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State", do what the second amendment spells out for them to do, Militias have been used in the Revolutionary War and Civil War. We should start using armed citizen soldiers again.

    January 4, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. And?

    No way around this. We know Obama will willingly act responsibly. We know that Democrats in the senate won't. They simply don't care about the long term health of the country, it's never been a liberal priority.

    January 4, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. California Rich

    Gary, we cannot print money forever. If you truly believe that the golden state is or was made of gold, you have set yourself up to be sorely disappointed.

    January 4, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Anthony

    Increasing the debt limit will not come with only spending cuts. Most polls show that a majority of Americans want a balanced approach, which means revenue increases and spending cuts. If Republicans only follow the polls that they like, they know what happened to them in the 2012 election.

    January 4, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. DOG1

    So, will any of those spending cuts be from, perhaps, BIG OIL SUBSIDIES (entitlements for oil billionaires)?, BIG AGRO-INDUSTRY SUBSIDES (same thing with an agro slant), TOTALLY WASTED MILITARY SPENDING (for example the company that builds the alternate engine for the Raptor jet, in case the one designed and built for it doesn't work, you know the company that's in Boehners district), ANY of the thousands of the ENTITLEMENTS corporations or the rich? ................................................................NAH, I didn't think so.

    January 4, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. James Stewart

    Since spending debt "Is No Longer Back By Any Type Of Hard Asset"; Our Country "Needs To Spend As Much As Is Required" to assure everyone has a good paying job ($30.00 per hour minimum plus Health Insurance) our children are safe and get the best possible education and everyone who works and does their job is able to own a decent home.
    At the current "Low Interest Rates"; spending what ever is required to accomplish this IS A BARGIN!

    January 4, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. doug

    Let the country fail to pay its bills. Let the Republicans finally destroy the nation so they can be vanquished onto the ash bin of history where they belong.

    January 4, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. gtx333

    What will happen for SS is raise the limit to $250,000. It was on the morning Joe show. SS problem fixed.

    January 4, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Casey

    The "well regulated Militia" is the National Guard, not hillbillies with assault rifles.

    January 4, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Evskie

    Why do Republicans always threaten to not do thier jobs as leverage to try and get want they want? Just raise the dept cielling you passed the bills. When the sequester rolls around then we can have a spending discussion.

    January 4, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. MD-Moderate

    Mr Speaker, Here is a suggestion for you: Identify, in detail, the spending cuts you would approve. That's right, put in writing the programs you wish to cut. Identify the federal spending you are willing to eliminate in the name of reducing the debt. Put your money where your mouth is for a change. You talk a big game about cutting spending, but no matter what gets offered up, it is never enough, yet you offer no specifics on what is enough. So take the lead if you have the guts – but no one believes you do. So go ahead, write it down and see if anyone, even in your own party will go along with it. If you won't at least do that much, then shut up about your ill-informed threats about the debt ceiling and go back to Ohio.

    January 4, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. tp1776

    the friction shown here and the last two years is proving a point: let one party at a time control Congress and the Presidency. They get to pass their bills and if they screw up, the voters turn them out and replace them with the other party, who can reverse the harm.

    January 4, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. elucidated1

    Last night Hannity suggested that it might be time to allow the US credit rating to drop to get what the Tea Party wants. ..

    January 4, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Richard Jones

    There are presently 4.5 million Federal employees. We can get by quite well with about 1.5 million !!

    January 4, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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