Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 02:48 PM
House Speaker John Boehner renewed his call for deficit-reduction talks with President Barack Obama, saying he was not “drawing any lines in the sand.””It’s time for us to sit down and have a conversation,” Boehner told reporters after meeting with Republican House members. “There are no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there is nothing off the table.”
But, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said President Obama called the speaker Tuesday morning to say he still won’t negotiate on ending the partial government shutdown or raising the nation’s debt limit.
The president’s call to Boehner came as a partial shutdown of the government enters its second week with no sign of ending.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Obama acknowledged the phone call to Boehner and said he told the Speaker he would not hold talks under the threat of a debt default or of keeping the government shut.
“I’m not going to negotiate until some of the extreme parts of the Republican Party stop forcing John Boehner to issue threats over our economy,” he said. “The government should not have to pay a ransom for Congress to do their jobs.
“Let’s lift these threats from over our families and over our businesses and get down to business.”
Obama warned on Tuesday that a U.S. debt default could wreak havoc and he would talk to congressional Republicans about any topic but urged them to raise the debt limit without conditions.
“As soon as Congress votes to reopen the government, it’s also got to vote to meet our country’s commitments, pay our bills, raise the debt ceiling,” Obama said. “As reckless as a government shutdown is, the economic shutdown caused by America defaulting would be dramatically worse,” he added.
Boehner said there’s never been a president who won’t negotiate on debt limit.
“You know, Americans expect us to work out our differences. But, refusing to negotiate is an untenable position. And frankly, by refusing to negotiate, Harry Reid and the president our putting our country on a pretty dangerous path,” Boehner said.
“Listen, there’s never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once,” he added. “As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011. He also negotiated with the Blue Dog Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in 2010.
“The way to resolve this is to sit down and have a conversation to resolve our differences.”
Republicans emerged from the House meeting saying they would insist that deficit-reduction talks with Obama as a condition for raising the federal debt limit.A senior House aide said Republicans are considering legislation to create a new panel to find deficit reductions similar to a failed 2011 “supercommittee” of Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate that was asked to find trillions of new budget savings.
Senate Democrats plan to introduce a bill this week to raise the government’s borrowing authority by enough to last through 2014 in an effort to avoid a fiscal default that could have a disastrous economic impact.
The measure, which must be discussed among Senate Democrats at a luncheon meeting on Tuesday, would not contain any of the deficit reductions that Republicans have demanded, a Senate Democratic aide said.
Both sides are searching for a way to resolve a fiscal standoff that has shut down the federal government for eight days, with a critical date for raising the country’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit approaching in nine days.
House Democrats, speaking to reporters, said they would reject the creation of such a panel. They want the government to reopen and the debt limit raised before entering any deficit-reduction negotiations.
The chief economist at the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday a default by the United States would likely lead to a recession, dramatic cuts in government spending, and a “a lot of financial turmoil.”
“I think what could be said is if there was a problem lifting the debt ceiling, it could well be that what is now a recovery would turn into a recession or even worse,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said.
The Senate Democratic aide said Democrats were hopeful they could get the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the 100-member Senate and pass a debt ceiling bill with no strings attached.
The measure would likely run into opposition from Senate Republicans such as Ted Cruz of Texas, who has been leading the drive to make delaying Obama’s healthcare law a condition for raising the debt ceiling.
Considering the procedural roadblocks it could face, aides said they need to begin work on the legislation well before Oct. 17, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the government will run out of borrowing authority.
Obama and his fellow Democrats have stepped up their criticism of Boehner for refusing to schedule a House vote on a separate unencumbered measure to fund the government and end the shutdown. They believe it would pass with most Democrats in the House voting for it along with a handful of Republicans. Boehner said Sunday that it would fail.
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