White House slams Boehner debt warning

May 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- The White House Tuesday blasted a warning by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner that he intends to hang tough on raising the national debt ceiling.

Boehner says he won't allow another hike in the national debt ceiling without larger spending cuts and reforms to entitlement programs.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Tuesday at a fiscal summit he estimates the government will hit its $16.394 trillion borrowing limit before the end of year, CNNMoney reported, but the U.S. Treasury can take extraordinary measures -- including suspending contributions to federal pension plans -- to delay the crisis until early in 2013.

In prepared remarks set to be delivered before the fiscal summit sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Boehner says: "When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see ... to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance."

The warning echoes one Boehner, R-Ohio, gave last year before a standoff with Democrats finally produced the Budget Control Act and its $2.1 trillion in cuts, CNNMoney said.

"We cannot hold the full faith and credit of the United States government hostage to one party's political agenda," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to Boehner's warning. "We saw what happened when this occurred last summer. It was very harmful to our economy. And we fully expect that members of Congress will agree that we must avoid a similar charade this year."

Carney said President Obama "has put forward a deficit and debt reduction plan that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. But he's doing it in a balanced way. What he will not do is ... have a repeat of the kind of political brinksmanship that House Republicans engaged in last year, that caused ... harm to our economy."

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