Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insisted Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he won’t bring up a “clean” debt limit increase under any circumstances, warning that the U.S. will default on its debt unless President Barack Obama agrees to make policy concessions.
“We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” he said. “I told the president, there’s no way we’re going to pass one. 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.”
Obama has repeatedly vowed not to negotiate on whether the country is able to keep paying its bills. Boehner’s speakership is at risk if he defies conservatives and allows the borrowing limit to be raised cleanly. The deadline is Oct. 17 and Boehner said the U.S. is currently on a path to default.
“That’s the path we’re on,” he said. “The president canceled his trip to Asia. I assumed — well, maybe he wants to have a conversation. I decided to stay here in Washington this weekend. He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call.”
According to leaks by House Republicans last week, Boehner has told colleagues privately he won’t permit default and will raise the debt ceiling with Democratic votes if need be.
Pressed again and again by host George Stephanopoulos about whether he’d prefer default to bringing up a clean debt limit bill, Boehner didn’t flinch.
“I don’t want the United States to default on its debt,” he said. “But I’m not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up. It would be irresponsible of me to do this.”