Boehner: House to demand spending cuts to avoid default
WASHINGTON — The partial government shutdown headed into its second week with no sign of resolution to the bitter stalemate as key Republicans in Congress on Sunday linked the budget impasse to a looming confrontation over a potential default on the nation's debt.
House Speaker John Boehner said the GOP-led House would not pass measures to either reopen the government or increase the government's borrowing authority without concessions from the White House, including talks on reducing federal spending.
“I don't want the United States to default on its debt,” the Ohio Republican said on ABC's “This Week.” “But I'm not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up.
“President Obama,” he said, “is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”
Asked how the stalemate would end, Boehner said: “If I knew, I would tell you.”
The government will reach the limit of its borrowing authority on Oct. 17, and Obama has called for lawmakers to pass a bill increasing the limits with no conditions attached.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called it “reckless” and “dangerous” for the federal government to veer so closely to a potential default on the nation's $16.7 trillion debt. “On the 17th, we run out of our ability to borrow, and Congress is playing with fire,” Lew said on CNN's “State of the Union.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who led GOP efforts to dismantle Obama's 2010 health care law as a condition of keeping the government open, on Sunday outlined three conditions that should be met before Republicans agree to a debt-ceiling deal.
“We should look for some significant structural plan to reduce government spending,” Cruz said on CNN. “We should avoid new taxes. And, No. 3, we should look for ways to mitigate the harms from Obamacare.”
The House and Senate were set to return to work Monday afternoon. The Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to approve a House-passed bill to ensure federal employees currently furloughed receive back pay once the shutdown ends. But there was agreement on little else as the shutdown moved into Day 7.
The partial government shutdown began Oct. 1, when Republicans and Democrats failed to reach an agreement on spending bills to keep the government running into the new fiscal year.