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Tensions mount as debt debate looms

Jan. 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A Democratic congressman said Sunday his Republican colleagues would likely look for wrenches to throw into efforts to reach a deal on the U.S. debt ceiling.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said House Speaker John Boehner lacked the power to keep his conservative wings at heel, which means any agreement on fiscal policy would be in jeopardy.

"The danger going forward is that the House Republican caucus will continue to refuse to take a balanced approach and that's going to deadlock the entire process," Van Hollen said on "Fox News Sunday."

Van Hollen told Fox the Obama administration and the Democrats were ready to proceed with talks on spending cuts and would have made progress during the fiscal cliff talks had it not been for GOP militancy. "The only reason we weren't be able to go forward with that was that you had House Republicans deciding not to follow Speaker Boehner in the balanced approach," he said.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the seeming lack of GOP cooperation was actually healthy skepticism about Democratic pledges to cut spending. "I tell folks back at home all the time, remember, these are promises from politicians," said Jordan. "It's not a promise from your parents. This is politicians saying, oh, give us some revenue, we promise we'll get to this balanced approach later."

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