Boehner says debt ceiling battle will come with spending cuts
January 4th, 2013
11:11 AM ET
10 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. jaimie

    Boehner needs to leave office along with his "troops" If we, as americans could vote today to get rid of him and his pork america would be better off. And his "troops" just voted him "in" to stay in his position. Now that shows you how much GOP is corrupt. His performance is very very poor. He and his "troops" love "pork" and continues to line their pockets. He, along with his "troops" will be a hugh downfall for all of america.

    January 4, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Jake from Canada

    The main area that can be cut without causing serious damage is defence. I'm not talking about payments to veterans or troops that are currently serving. I'm not talking about cutting essential supplies and equipment for them. I'm talking about cutting things that the military says it does not want or need. There are several contractors that are demanding funding to create these items. Cut those. There is a lot of Government waste in many departments, but you can't go at it with an axe like the Republican's want to. You need to cut smartly.

    January 4, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. JLS639

    Aaron Keedy: 4.3 million citizen soldiers? Hooey. Militias are stopgaps until the real military shows up or is mobilized. Throughout history, militias have been crushed by professional armies. The big victories in the history of militias is when they get a single company of enemy soldiers to retreat and inflict a dozen casualties (e.g., Lexington and Concord would never make the history books as a skirmish between professional armies) or fight insurgent wars where they rely on being too expensive to fight rather than actually winning.

    Sure, cut military spending (a lot), but don't pretend that gun clubs and militias are armies. The not so powerful army of the Dominican Republic would have your local militia for breakfast in a real fight.

    January 4, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Madison

    Read the accompanying article about the gop blowing itself up. The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.

    January 4, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Bregginkrak

    Folks, our country spends significantly more revenue than collected. Our leaders make financial promises they can't keep. Our financial system of spending and collecting is broken and only getting worse. There is no easy way out of this mess. Many, if not most of us will suffer, the suffering only gets worse with each delay. By just coming up with a solution, even if the solution will take years to get us out of debt, we'll see the economy improve simply because there will be a path we can all plan on. Our leaders need to stop focusing on politics and come together to create a plan.

    January 4, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. plain&simple

    Spending cuts will happen because they are needed....It's the form in which they happen that counts. Medicare pay by patient instead of procedure for instance! The Speaker is right on him not speaking as it it obvious he doesn't speak for anyone but himself. Smooth efficient government can only be achieved by people who know how to govern! Republicans don't anymore. They gave up when they sold their souls to the tea party!

    January 4, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Matt

    The debt ceiling isn't about future spending it is about spending that has already happened.. *eye roll* The President is correct in that there shouldn't be any debate about this since it is about paying the debt that the HOUSE already agreed to create. The time for debate is when you are passing the bills that have the spending in them. The only thing that is created from a debt ceiling debate is economic uncertainty and the slowing of the economic recovery. Holding our country's credit hostage again is a political stunt that we can't afford.

    January 4, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. DemGuy

    OK, Richard and others. How many defense workers do you want to fire? How about those federal workers we call the House of Representatives? Maybe we should remove the universal health care, retirement and other benefits of the Tea Party members that say "it is common sense, we just can't afford it".

    January 4, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Fernando

    @DMoneyx2: "It's just common sense – very plane and simple." Never say always, but when someone uses this terminology, it's almost always not plane and simple and common sense is woefully inadequate.
    Your solution = cut spending

    The real world solution starts off asking these questions;
    How, what, when, who, why, where, how much and if to cut spending.
    How, what, when, who, why, where, how much,and if to spend.
    How, what, when, who, why, where, how much and if to invest.
    How, what, when, who, why, where, how much and if to tax.
    How, what, when, who, why, where, how much and if to give tax relief.
    etc., etc.,.....

    January 4, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. omeany

    Just another case of the GOP running up the tab, then skipping out when the bill comes. They are useless.

    January 4, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Teddyg

    Poster says "Democrats are always willing to spend others money without sharing in the sacrifices." This doesn't hold water. Looking at the 2012 electorate, Blue states pay more federal taxes than red states. So don't lecture us on making sacrifices.

    January 4, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. JFK

    How many times did Boehner vote to raise the debt ceiling under George W. Bush? Why was he so spineless about debt then? Why didn't he speak up when Cheney said that "deficits don't matter". He can cry all he wants to, but when given the opportunity to man up, he continually falls short.

    January 4, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. John/kc

    I never hear the republicans talking about cutting the bloated defense department. How about a 30% cut in defense and 30% cut in social programs. But the republicans will never cut out those 1300 foreign military bases we pay for in over 110 foreign countries on borrowed Chinese money. How about a 30% cut in those aircraft carrier battle groups that sail the high seas, and just concentrate on defending this country and not all the countries of the world that can surely fend for themselves, or better yet, let them borrow from China to pay for their own defense.

    January 4, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Larry

    This is all about the Republicans keeping the press focused on them – I've seen Bonehead's face so much I get sick to my stomach at the sight of him.

    January 4, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. david

    Wouldn't want these repulbicans running my budget...
    Sorry Boehner, the president has the upper hand, remember the sequestration? If you don't want your precious defense cut, you are going to have to raise the debt...Obama has the bargaining chip. And the more the American people know about what a debt ceiling is, the more you look foolish for trying to scare the American people!!!! PAY YOUR BILLS!!!!

    January 4, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. ugh

    Broke. No more money.......but still behaving like the spoiled child under Obama.......

    January 4, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Rick

    It has to be tied to spending cuts. Just look at all the pork in the Fiscal Cliff and Sandy relief Bills. No wonder they were able to get nearly every Senator from both Parties onboard as Biden included any and all the pork project funding at the expense of the overall Country. What happened to the ban on earmarks. Our Government couldn't qualify for a home mortgage if it was an individual based on its expense to income balance.

    January 4, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Jamie

    Interesting that Boehner ignored polls suggesting the majority of Americans wanted to increase taxes on earners of $250,000 by a huge margin, but now cites them on spending as if he actually cares what we think.

    Also enjoy how he outright lies about what the president has said as CNN followed up his quote with the truth.

    January 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Jack from Pa

    Lets start the spending cut by removing the PORK from the currently passed Cliff bill. The millions that were added for Nascar, Star kiss and the whiskey makers don't need the taxpayers support when we talking of cutting spending.

    January 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. M

    No debate means just that – deal with it – figure it out.

    January 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. John

    Keep kicking the can down the road

    January 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. California Gary

    @california rich.......I'm not saying we shouldn't cut spending (both parties have been guilty of irresponsible spending), I'm saying that defaulting on our debts by failing to raise the debt ceiling is not the way to go.......we paid a big price for all that nonsense last year........and spending has what did we accomplish other than having our credit rating downgraded? There needs to be serious discussion and action regarding our spending problem......but the debt ceiling shouldn't be involved in that discussion. By the way......raising it was never an issue under GOP presidents....why now?

    January 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. alivegas99

    The right road to take is to ease the tax burden on all US corporations so we can get this economy growing fast. Private sector growth is the best solution for high debt. Raising taxes is surely the worst way eliminate debt because it shrinks the demand side of the economy, slowing it down, and disincentives private sector work. With little growth and almost no prospects of loosening regulations or cutting corporate taxes to promote growth, the best option we are left with is to GRADUALLY and SLOWLY ease off the spending pedal. This can be done through many avenues including military and entitlements. Our spending must match our revenue and growth profile or all the low interest lending we now use to pay our debts will eventually fall away and we will find ourselves in a death spiral of interest payments. We aren't there yet but no one is certain how close or far away we are or what the future may hold.

    We need a plan for spending sooner rather than later. In an ideal world this would not have to be done by holding the president hostage with the debt ceiling increase, but also, the right wing of America clearly views this as a very urgent issue. I don't think I fully agree with the right or left but I don't think either side is doing much more than posturing at the extremes at this point and I'm sure an agreement will be struck this year which will gradually and slowly cut spending from most every part of America's budget.

    January 4, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. david

    Introduce Bills that will get pass by the Democrate senate...that's the regular order of business!!!

    January 4, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Cathy

    Why do republicans blame Obama for the deficit? Congress is the one that approved all spending.I guess they like to play the blame game along with saying no.I hope Obama uses the 14th amamendment if they press him on this.Boehner and McConell should be ashamed of themselves and all of those that would rather default than boost the country.The deficit should be the last thing Americans are worried about right now.Get people back to work and it will look after a part of itself.Then concentrate on reduction and the debt.

    January 4, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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