House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says Congress will not increase U.S. borrowing authority without trillions of dollars in spending cuts.
As administration officials prepare for a round of meetings this week with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on raising the debt limit, Boehner Monday told an audience in New York Congress will not authorize an increase in the federal debt limit unless President Barack Obama and Democrats agree to spending cuts greater than any increase in the nation's ability to borrow, The Washington Post reported.
Boehner told the Economic Club of New York tax increases as a way of reducing the federal budget deficit are off the table and suggested that congressional Republicans will refuse to increase the debt limit unless Democrats accede to trillions in spending cuts.
"Without significant spending cuts and changes in the way we spend the American people's money, there will be no increase in the debt limit," he said.
"We're not talking about billions here. We should be talking about cuts in trillions if we're serious about addressing America's fiscal problems."
Aides to the speaker did not clarify a time frame for when spending cuts would have to be in effect but said it would have to be over a longer period than the duration of the higher borrowing limit, the Post reported.
Democrats and others who support raising the debt limit cite economists who say failure to increase borrowing authority could disrupt markets and cause interest rates to spike by calling into question the nation's ability to meet its financial obligations.
Vice President Joe Biden is set to meet in Washington Tuesday with congressional leaders from both parties on extending the debt limit. Obama plans to meet at the White House Wednesday with all Senate Democrats and Thursday with all Senate Republicans to search for a compromise that will pave the way for congressional passage of a higher debt limit.
Although the national debt is expected to reach its limit of $14.3 trillion within the week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said the United States can continue meeting its obligations until Aug. 2.