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. Jim

    Let Boehner put whatever spending cuts he wants into a bill, and see if it passes.

    January 4, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. ceddie80

    @cali guy: then what's ur solution? More taxation? Commifornia that you live in is a PERFECT example of how taxing is NOT the solution. Commifornia has one of the HIGHEST taxes in the nation. And how is it working out for ya? You guys are one of the "BROKEST" of all states! Taxing the "rich" will only raise BILLIONS – a tiny drop of the bucket – and that's certainly not enough to cut 16 TRILLION of debt! And besides, after taxing the heck out of the "rich", then who else will pay for all the rest of the trillions of debt??

    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?

    January 4, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. DMoneyx2

    The problem is we can't afford to pay our bills...very plane and simple. This is such a common sense issue...figure out what we can live with out and cut it...it does not take a genius to figure out we spend to much and do not make enough...good grief Charlie Brown...it is not a democrat or republican problem...it is a frigging American problem!

    January 4, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. GuestAgain

    Democrats are always willing to spend others money without sharing in the sacrifices.

    January 4, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. FREEDOM

    @ doug
    This administration is putting everyone in the ash bin – except itself. Obama's living it up in Hawaii.

    January 4, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Richard Jones

    In reading the comments of the CNN commenters, I can see why the country is in the shape that it is in. Most have absolutely no ability to do any logical thinking !! Bet they would be hard to beat at Angry Birds , though !

    January 4, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Facts don't Lie

    why is it under EVERY president including Bush there has NEVER been a fight to raise the debt ceiling, now all of a sudden under Obama this has to be a war with the right wing? If Obama invokes the 14th amendment on them as he well could then the Republicans and FoxNews will howl so loud it could bring the house down.

    January 4, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. California Mike

    The debt ceiling should be the lever to pry some spending cuts. Now that Obama has his tax on the "rich" done – hey, btw, how's that feel all you "rich" people (i.e. anyone with a job)? – it's time to focus on spending – the real problem that has created all the debt in this country. A good place to start is to deny all that "Sandy Pork" NJ and NY want – cut that $80B back to about $25B where it belongs.

    January 4, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Jesus Christ Superstar

    You know, not EVERYTHING that has to do with the debt is about revenue or spending... sometimes it has to do with being smart with your money... Being that Boehner's Congress has passed the least amount of bills than any other in modern history, maybe YOU, Mr. Speaker, are the problem, and not spending...

    January 4, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. JLS639

    The last time the GOP wanted to use this, they rejected compromises of 9 to 1 spending cuts to tax increases. The GOP has proven they are not interested in the negotiation and compromise that allows a nation of different opinions and priorities to function. I support Obama on this. Until the GOP shows they are willing to negotiate and compromise, there is no reason for Obama to even speak with them. I say let the Treasury Department auctions bonds without Congress, citing their Constitutional obligations to do so.

    January 4, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. geary

    I think it is time for a "Recall all of Congress" movement. We need to replace the whole lot of them. Any group of people gathered at random off the streets would be better than what we have. Let's get this going before these guys do any more damage. They are clearly going down the same ridiculous path as last year and will have the same catastophic results. I completely support the comment made that congress could find their way out of a burning paper bag,

    January 4, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Gerald

    Boehner is correct in asking for spending cuts. We are approaching a 17 trillion dollar debt. I'd start with ending subsidies to the oil and gas companies, ending tax breaks for companies moving jobs over seas, cut foreign aid to Islamic and other countries that aren't our TRUE and REAL partners, etc. We cant balance the budget off the backs of elderly by cutting Social Security and Medicare. These two programs are NOT ENTITLEMENTS, workers have paid into these two programs for years. You've taken that money from my paychecks for nearly 30 years already. Stop giving SS and Medicare to those not paying into the system, instead of raising the retirement age, hoping people die before they can ever draw out the funds they paid into SS and Medicare. Or either give the people the healthcare and retirement that members of Congress and the President are given.

    January 4, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. 007

    Boehner should consider the "6 party talks" approach used in negotiations with N Korea.....himself Cantor, McConnell v Reid and Obama?

    January 4, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Larry in Alabama

    Arguing about the effects on the national debt should be done when discussing new spending bills. To be arguing about whether or not we should pay for those bills already passed is nothing but idiotic.
    If they want to make cuts, be specific. They always want to make broad cuts so they can blame the democrats for specific cuts.

    January 4, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. SB Atl

    Are any of you commenters above aware that the debt limit is to pay bills that have ALREADY occurred. Yes we need to cut spending starting with Congress's salaries and then go to Corporate Welfare. However, this Congress approved this spending that now has to be paid. So what do the Republicans say...oops, I didn't mean it? Are you all idiots or what?

    January 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Joi Gibson

    Coming from someone who has voted for every budget busting bill since he has been a member of Congress, Boehner's words are disingenuous. He didn't care about the budget until Senator Obama became President Obama and now all of a sudden, the budget/deficit is all President Obama's fault. I think not Speaker Boehner. Maybe you should take responsibility for your part in the exploding budget/deficit. That might lend you a very, very small semblance of credibility.

    January 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Mr Foobar2u

    To GuestAgain

    How about that tax break during the Iraq war..
    So.. just to add to your phrase..

    "Republicans are always willing to borrow other's money without the rich sharing in the sacrifices"

    and borrowing /spending (the republican 2 santa theory) is far worse than tax/spend

    January 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. sonny chapman

    The DEFICIT; It only became a Monster for Repubs. in 2008. AFTER George W.left office. What hypocrisy. They needed a new Monster to scare people to hang on to power. Repubs. can't exist w/out a Monster. Can't use Bin laden anymore.

    January 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Larry

    If you're broke and can't make your monthly bills, do you go back to your boss and demand more money so that you can pay them? No, you'd be fired most likely. You go home and go through your bills and cut out of the fat. Maybe cut cable TV, lessen the minutes in your phone plan, up your insurance deductibles. You make a bunch of small cuts that end up adding up to plenty. This is what the government at every level needs to do and not go back to their bosses, us the taxpayers, and demand more money. Except with the government, they have the authority to seize it. The tax rates and budget must be defined by the taxpayers and not by the government. Make it a constitutional amendment to cap spending at a certain percent of GDP and end this fiasco.

    January 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. RINO Bill

    I cannot help but believe that this entire debt ceiling issue is a fiction created by the Republicans to hassle Obama and the Democrats.

    During the Bush era, the Republican Congress quietly raised the debt celing 35 times without any sort of debate or soul-searching whatsoever. We went from the Clinton surplus to the enormous Bush debt in just a few short years.

    As soon as Obama walks into the Oval Office, Republicans suddenly become born-again fiscal conservatives. What's wrong with this picture? Why should we believe that Republican-induced debt is OK, but Democrat-caused debt is bringing on the End of Days?

    January 4, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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?"

    Well, like all budgets (even household budgets) ya kinda gotta bring in some revenue ... else the house falls apart, the car stops running, the toilet won't flush, and canned dog food becomes ever more expensive.

    January 4, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Facts don't Lie

    @ FREEDOM....

    I know that living it up in Hawaii may not be as much fun as living it up in Crawford Texas but it would bug your type I'm sure if the president were even having a vacation in the White House backyard.

    January 4, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Wilson

    Again, the Constitution has been shoved aside. Boehner was not required to "negotiate." Article 1, Section 7 states: All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Congress should just write the bill and send it up, if it does not pass the senate, it is on their heads.

    January 4, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. nc_mike

    The argument that the bills can't be paid is bogus. It is like someone already having using their credit card to make purchases then refusing to pay the bill. How about we impose a credit limit BEFORE they authorize purchases (that is, can't spend more or cut revenue in the budget without the guarantee of the money being there to pay the bill later). The current 'debt ceiling' isn't equivalent to a credit limit, its a payment limit. If this were are credit card company they'd be sending collectors.

    January 4, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Steve - Texas

    The President is right.. The debt ceiling is nothing but whether we will pay out bills as they come due...

    If Congress wants to cut spending.. so be it... but it has NOTHING to do with unfunded laws they passed that contained automatic increases... Now those bills are coming do... The Republicans do not want to pay their bill. Pathetic. No wonder Republicans have lost all credibility.

    January 4, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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