Boehner: 'We Are Not Going to Pass a Clean Debt Limit Increase'
(CNSNews.com) - Previous presidents -- even President Obama -- have negotiated deals as part of raising the nation's debt limit in the past, and this time won't be any different, House Speaker John Boehner told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.
"We are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," Boehner said. "I told the president, there is no way we're going to pass -- when the votes are not in the House -- to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."
"So under no circumstances will you pass a clean debt limit?" Stephanopoulos repeated.
"We are not going down that path," Boehner responded. "It is time to deal with America's problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem? George, we've spent more than what we've brought in for 55 of the last 60 years. This year, the federal government will have more revenue than any year -- any year in the history of our country, and yet, we're still going to have a nearly $700 billion budget deficit. We are squandering the future for our kids and our grandkids by not dealing with this problem."
Boehner said he agrees with the Treasury Department's assessment that failure to raise the debt limit would be catastrophic: "And the president is putting the nation at risk by his refusal to sit down and have a conversation," he said several times.
Boehner said his goal is not to have the United States default on its debt: "My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up."
Asked if he would be willing to consider higher taxes as part of any debt limit negotiation, Boehner said no: "The president got $850 billion -- or $650 billion of new revenues on January 1st. He got his revenues. Now it's time to talk about the spending problem."
"So that's a no?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"Very simple. We're not raising taxes," Boehner said.
Asked how the current impasse will end, Boehner said it will end when President Obama "decides to allow Harry Reid to talk to me or allow Patty Murray to talk to Paul Ryan. The president just can't sit there and say, I'm not going to negotiate."
Boehner said he stayed in Washington this weekend, thinking President Obama might want to talk to him. "He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call."
Later, Boehner repeated his willingness to talk: "George, I'm ready for the phone call. I'm ready for a conversation. I'll take anybody on the Democrat side who wants to seriously sit down and begin to work out this problem."
"When is this going to end?" Stephanopoulos asked.
Boehner told him, "If I knew, I'd tell you."