Boehner Promises Stronger Fight in Debt Ceiling Debate
A day after reelection to his position, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) signaled he would insist on a dollar-per-dollar match between new spending cuts and borrowing, as President Barack Obama and Republicans head toward another clash concerning the debt ceiling.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither announced the country has already hit its $16-trillion debt ceiling, which means Congress must agree to raise the limit within the next two months or risk default.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Boehner told Republican members in a closed-door meeting on Friday, the first day of the 113th Congress, that, “with the cliff behind us, the focus turns to spending.”
“The president says he isn’t going to have a debate with us over the debt ceiling,” Boehner said, according to a source. “He also says he’s not going to cut spending along with the debt limit hike.”
A Boehner aide also told Fox News that Boehner will no longer meet with President Barack Obama behind closed doors.
During the last Congress, Boehner angered conservatives by conceding tax increases and showing his hand in negotiations before the White House had even made an initial offer. Boehner’s “Plan B” proposal went down in the House, and he had to pull the bill from the House floor.
House Republicans largely opposed the temporary agreement to avert the fiscal cliff that was struck last week, raising taxes on individuals and families making $400,000 and $450,000, respectively and temporarily suspending sequestration cuts.
As Breitbart News reported, conservatives were circulating a draft of a plan exploring paths to oust Boehner from the Speakership. Conservatives, especially those associated with the Tea Party that gave Republicans the majority in the House and Boehner his Speakership, believed Boehner was not reflecting their values, particularly on fiscal issues. Nine Republicans defected, giving Boehner 220 votes, six more than the 214 threshold he needed to avoid a second round of voting.
A Boehner spokesman essentially conceded he took the threat from the right seriously, which will impact how he will negotiate with Obama going forward on raising the debt ceiling. The spokesman said Boehner would be “recommitting himself and the House to what we've done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will."