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. Shaun

    Enjoy this embarrasing portion of american history while you can. It truly is a shame. Obama has brainwashed millions. I find that his crowning achievement. Logic has escaped us based on skin color and a flashy smile. Obama: The world's first American Idol president.

    Enjoy it america.

    January 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. GuestAgain

    Some of you are correct, congress should have stood its ground. Not passing the ACA under pressure from the president would have been a good start among others. Also not funding Obamas regulatory agenda that will cost 100's of billions and kill job growth would help. Think people! I know its hard when you're on the take...

    January 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Floyd from Illinois

    Boehner is sounding more and more like Sheriff Bart in "Blazing Saddles", and the way he escaped the angry mob by threatening to shoot himself.

    January 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. david

    What has the Republicans accomplish since taking over in 2010?!!!!
    Nothing but endless obstruction, or threats of economic disaster!!
    Is this what you conservatives voted for? This is what you call progress?

    January 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    It is simply disgraceful that this babbling idiot is third in line to represent the American people. I am so sick of his incoherance and ignorance in failing to put the American people first. Boehner still doesn't have a clue as to what the position of Speaker means, and should be grateful his party is too ignorant to know he's unfit and unable to get things done. Look forward to more childlike behavior, temper tantrums and crying, while the country falls over the clift.

    January 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Mike

    The Speaker needs to read the Constitution. The president, whomever is in the Oval Office, cannot spend a dime. Congress has the authority to spend money. The debt ceiling is not part of the Constitution but part of a 1917 act for Liberty Bonds but giving Congress the duty of the debt ceiling. The Constitution does say the US will pay it's debts and the debt ceiling is for money already allocated by, you guessed it, Congress. A trillion dollar cut in spending will not lower the debt by that amount, that will take time. There should be separate discussions on spending cuts that make sense and eliminate the impasse which consists of the Dems putting in their lower ideas (will not pass the House) and the House doing the opposite (will not pass the Senate). Sound familiar? The president can lead his party to compromise but it is the job of the Speaker to lead his party to compromise and he is not a leader. Funny how Bush II put those wars on a credit card outside the budget and then asked for more money to pay that bill which Congress approved. I do not remember Obama doing the same thing. See why our vote really does not matter. Congress is very happy with a 10% or less approval rating.

    January 4, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Paul Williamson

    Boehner and the House GOP have not learned their lesson yet, they will have to be taught again that their partisan games do not work and alienate most Americans. They need to work on cutting costs and closing tax loopholes (how about eliminating Romney's 15% tax dodge?), independent of the debt ceiling-refusing to raise the debt ceiling does nothing to save money, it only reduces our bond ratings so we have to pay more in interest.

    January 4, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Fitness Wayne | Paleo Diet and Exercise

    Crazy cut?!? We are 16 trillion dollars in debt! To not make large cuts is crazy. We saw the disaster in Greece yet we are following in their footsteps.

    January 4, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "they are at "nothing left to lose" and if they are going down, you better believe with every fiber of your being that they will take every single one of us with them."

    Oh, Sniffit. There's never been a doubt in my mind. Just waiting for the company store vouchers to start getting passed around. Got my tent (and my shovel) ready for the fallout. We're headed right back to, oh, when was it? Hoover's term?

    January 4, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Pete

    Republicans go back and research your expresident Reagan and see how he screwed up the economy with a massive 70% increase in military spending and cutting essentials to the middleclass,poor..He also cut taxes for the rich while raising taxes again on the other classes .Reagan was your hero that stole from SocialSecurity to balance the budget back in the "80s ,a first for any president and it hasn't stopped with them continuing with Nixon doing the same thing..After all these years you'd think republicans would get something right,but then again I'm asking to much aren't I!!

    January 4, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Ed Eaglehouse

    His idiocy was because he was naive to trust an untrustworthy president in former negotiations. Sounds like he's learned his lesson and won't try to make the same mistake again. Returning to the legislative process may not be fast, but it will help avoid future fiascos like the ill-conceived Obamacare that only make things worse.

    January 4, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. W. K. Sexton

    Cutting off Grandmas and Grandpas who paid for their benefits amounts to premeditated murder for many golden heroes who can't afford one more dime of any expenses. Please Heavenly Father: Please warn GOP members to stop committing party suicide and to avoid their ultimate reward...separation from YOU.

    January 4, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. jpzipp

    And if I refuse to pay my bills I go bankrupt! When will the Republican House realize they spent the money now it time to pay up. 2 unfunded wars remember.......

    January 4, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. bryionak

    "This all debt the country suffers now is due to the actions taken by the congress and it is up to their responsibility ot take care of it."

    This current budget is based on the budget passed in 2008 and 2009, under Dem leadership. the Senate will not take up a new budget bill and all spending is based on the last passed budget and the principle of baseline budgeting, plus any amendments that have since passed.

    January 4, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Paul

    Linda from Minnesota, did you see the other day the map of the US showing the top ten states that do not pay income tax,
    the kind that would not vote for Romney? It turns out that 8 our of ten, New Mexico and Florida excepted, voted for Romney. Not only that, they are all deep red states, Alabama, MS, George, Texas, etc. So maybe the Republicans can start cutting there. You know, lead by example.

    January 4, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. MaryM

    If the repubs in the house refuse to raise the debt ceiling the credit agencys will again downgrade Americas credit rating and the repubs will again get the blame for the downgrade of Americas credit rating, as per S&P themselves. Repubs, you cant say you are not going to pay your bills and NOT expect Americas credit rating to be damaged

    January 4, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Brad - Oregon

    "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."

    Are these the same pollisters that the GOP used to predict Romney winning by a landslide?

    January 4, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. 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?

    January 4, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Bill in Florida

    More obstructi9on and blackmail from the GOP House. Vote 'em out in 2014 for the good of our country!

    January 4, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. david

    Is there anyway to show congress that we are not stupid??? Voting can't be the only way, cause these republicans are going to take off a cliff, one way or another!!

    January 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. ST

    Boehner should stop his dreams. It is not going to work. He has only one leg (GOP congress). Dems have two legs: The Senate and the President. In his mind, how does he think with his one leg he is going to overpower the two? No way.

    January 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    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?

    I am willing to bet you were silent during the Bush years. You didn't care about the two UNPAID for wars and so many other debts charged on a DENIED credit card, but now all of a sudden "debt" is a bad word? Please quit being such a hypocrite and tell the truth about what really bothers you.

    January 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Larry in Houston

    Even the Newtster agrees with the fact that IF Boehner does & thinks the way he's been doing the last several weeks, he ( bonehead) will have a disaster on his hands, as far as the debt ceiling goes. The crybaby should trade places with somebody who won't cave. But, everybody already know's boehner's a "caver" LOL

    January 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Al

    John will once again go behind close doors and make a deal, and nothing will have any real cuts, and the cuts that will be offered will be garbage cuts, not real cuts.

    January 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Goodguy6410

    No, we should not cut spending one dime! In fact, let's hire some more federal employees and start giving out raises! Why not? The GOP should rubber stamp all of this because, somehow, George Bush was in office four years ago, or we had a war or something like that. Anyway, let's continue spending! Yay!

    January 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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