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Obama, Boehner spar over debt-ceiling hike

May 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, disagreed Wednesday over a debt-ceiling hike during a White House meeting.

The speaker's office said the clash came after the president earlier handed a five-point economic "to do" list to U.S. lawmakers designed to aid an economic upturn, The Hill reported.

Congressional action on the tax-cutting, job-creation and mortgage-relief action plan -- which Obama announced May 8 in Albany, N.Y. -- would help build and sustain momentum for the recovering economy, the president said Wednesday at a Small Business Association roundtable shortly before he met privately with congressional leaders of both major parties.

A Boehner aide said the speaker asked the president if he was proposing Congress raise the ceiling on the national debt without making spending cuts, and Obama answered, "Yes."

Boehner then said: "As long as I'm around here, I'm not going to allow a debt-ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt."

After the contentious meeting, press secretary Jay Carney told White House reporters during the daily briefing the administration would not permit a repeat of last year's debt-ceiling impasse that led to the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating.

Tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush are set to end Dec. 31 and mandatory spending cuts are scheduled to start in 2013.

"The president emphasized the need for Congress to avoid re-fighting old political fights and act to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1," said Carney. "The president also made clear that he refuses to allow a replay of last summer's self-inflicted political crisis that eroded confidence and hurt the American economy."

Carney said Obama made it clear "that we're not going to recreate the debt ceiling debacle of last August. It is simply not acceptable to hold the American and global economy hostage to one party's political ideology."

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