Boehner says no debt deal without 'conversation' with Obama

Oct. 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- House Speaker John Boehner Sunday Congress would not pass a so-called clean bill raising the U.S. debt limit unless the Democrats negotiate on spending.

Boehner said on ABC's "This Week" there were not enough votes in the House to pass a bill allowing the government shutdown to end unless President Obama agreed to "sit down and have a conversation" about the national debt even though his goal was not shutting down the government.

"We're not going down that path," Boehner said. "It is time to deal with America's problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?"

Boehner said Obama had gotten additional revenues from Congress and that it was now time to discuss serious reductions in spending, which he blamed for a growing federal deficit even though the government was taking in more money.

The speaker also said the ball was in Obama's court and that it was the president who was risking a default on the debt and continued government closure by refusing to negotiate with the GOP. "I don't want the United States to default on its debt, but I am not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up," he said. "It would be irresponsible of me to do this."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told ABC he doubted Boehner and the House had dug in too deeply. He proposed that the potential economic impact of a default were too dire to allow to happen. "I believe Speaker Boehner will not do that when push comes to shove," he said.

Schumer also portrayed the "conversation" that Boehner desired to "negotiating with a gun to our head."

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