With the nation expected to hit the debt ceiling again sometime around October, Republicans have begun discussing what, if any, concessions they will accept in exchange for raising it.
But top Democratic House Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) says Democrats refuse to negotiate.
“Democrats are unwilling to bargain on the debt ceiling,” said Levin on Tuesday.
Levin’s comments may complicate President Barack Obama and Democrats’ strategy of painting Republicans as recalcitrant and unwilling to compromise.
Spending cuts and debt reduction, comprehensive tax reform, repealing Obamacare, and entitlement reform are among the items GOP lawmakers say they would consider as part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
“The president got his tax increase in January,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “Now is the time to get serious about solving the spending problem.”
On the Senate side, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the key is reducing the nation’s $16.8 trillion debt. “I can tell you with certainty I think it’s extremely unlikely that any Republican is going to vote to raise the debt ceiling without doing something about the debt.”
Whether President Barack Obama is willing to compromise, however, remains unclear. During the January 2013 debt ceiling debate, Obama said failure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling would be “absurd.”
“To even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. We’ve got to pay our bills.”
Obama warned Republicans that he would not allow Republicans to, “collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”