Boehner: 'We're Not Going to Default' on Debt

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John Boehner Holds Media Briefing At The Capitol
Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSpeaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio.
By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner promised Thursday that the GOP-controlled House won't miss a late-February deadline to increase the government's borrowing cap.

"Look, we do not want to default on our debt, and we're not going to default on our debt," Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican held open the possibility that the House could consider a debt limit increase that's "clean" of any GOP add-ons.

Boehner is struggling to win enough support among Republicans to pass a debt limit measure without help from Democrats. He has already discarded adding provisions to the must-pass measure such as a mandate that the Obama administration approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The government reaches its borrowing limit on Friday, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is employing bookkeeping maneuvers to buy a few weeks' time for Congress to act. Lifting the cap on the government's more than $17 trillion debt is needed to permit the government to meet all of its obligations,
including Social Security benefits, interest payments on U.S. treasuries, federal workers' salaries and payments to federal contractors. Failing to do so would be unprecedented and, experts warn, could roil financial markets and the economy.

President Barack Obama has said he won't permit Republicans to use the debt limit as a vehicle for GOP priorities. Two debt limit increases were enacted last year that included only modest add-ons, such as a provision forcing Senate Democrats to pass a budget.

"It's the responsibility of Congress to ensure that bills that have already been incurred are paid in a timely fashion, so that the United States doesn't default," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday. "We are not going to pay ransom in return for Congress fulfilling this basic responsibility."

Boehner is tempering expectations that the GOP might be able to extract much in exchange for an increase in the government's borrowing cap -- and he doesn't sound optimistic he can accomplish it without help from Democrats.

"Mother Theresa is a saint now, but if the Congress wanted to make her a saint and attach that to the debt ceiling, we probably couldn't get 218 Republican votes," the speaker said.


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34 Comments

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boowah

The Republicans would love to pay China and all of our other foreign creditors, but default on Social Security. That's one mistake that neither party would make twice, because it would be their finish.

February 07 2014 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to boowah's comment
palmejn

Defaulting on the debt does NOT mean failing to meet contractural obligations. Defaulting on the debt simply means not paying interest due. Nothing more. Why do politicians use these words in a way that isn'y true.

Same principle applies to home loans. As long as you pay interest, they can;t take your home. All word games.

February 07 2014 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bjamebon3

Look let's face it Boehner is just trying to shine the apple up here. Is this the way Boehner acted in 2011 , and then in 2013 , no . In both incidents he was very cocky ,and arrogant . I guess he can smell that the people are tired of his boolcrap , and want him gone yesterday.

February 07 2014 at 1:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Jack Russell

Nothing is confirmed until officially denied.

February 07 2014 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

John, are you personally going to give up drinking for a week so you can make the payments if all else fails?

February 07 2014 at 12:07 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
edsredkoala

why cant this loser go back to ohio where he belongs and continue with his previous occupation of being a plummer.. or couldnt he do that right either?

February 07 2014 at 11:39 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
kevinjbarrett1

Boehner,the worst speaker since this republic was established. He has failed ever since he took over, it's is now part of written history. He set a new low with the 112th and then broke that record with the 113th. I don't think even Boehner can break that historical failure but,watch him try.

February 07 2014 at 10:36 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kevinjbarrett1's comment
daradams

No that would be Pelllossssiiiiii

February 07 2014 at 2:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
palmejn

Have you forgotten ditsey, brain fumbled Pelosi? One of the richest women in Congress? So rich she could give millions of dollars away and not miss the pocket change? The same woman whi said you have to pass the bill to see what's in it and it was garbage? The same woman whio you to pay for her $20,000 a year health care insurance and gets her private doctors, face lifts and hearing aids that YOIU pay for.? The same woman whi spent $30,000.00 a week to fly back to SFO to have dinner with her billionaoire hubby - who hide outs from her. Only a sucker would fall for her bubble brain trash.

February 07 2014 at 3:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rbrtkyte

"Look, we do not want to default on our debt, and we're not going to default on our debt," Boehner said.
If he keeps slamming Obama and holding up our economy we won't get **** done ....LIES LIES LIES ...
Get to work on fixing the economy instead of stalling it every 3 months !!!

February 07 2014 at 10:30 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rbrtkyte's comment
palmejn

Do you know what bankruotcy is??? The USA is bankruopt - but hey - lets just keep borrowing money from China, Russia, Japan and a bunch of other countries so the ores can spend 40-60-80 million dollars on vacations and golf.

February 07 2014 at 3:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Danny

XL Pipeline? Guaranteed job creator. This is why Obama is sitting on approving it. He doesn't want to create jobs, just increase the entitlement roles. That is part of a Socialist agenda he is implementing. Thanks to the GOP, they are slowing his destruction down a bit.

February 07 2014 at 10:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Danny's comment
rbrtkyte

You are sorely mistaken, BOEHNER is the problem not Obama !!
Look what they cost us just before Christmas !!!!
Were you totally blind to that cost ?????

February 07 2014 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rbrtkyte's comment
palmejn

Its what Obama has done for last six years in his goal to turn USA into another Russia with his rich Hollywood friends running the country while he plays golf.

February 07 2014 at 3:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
Mark Samuels

According to the Wall Street Journal, the pipeline will created 3900 jobs, for two years. After which 650 jobs. The oil, every drop will leave the country to higher bidders, worth the risk? As for me, I own TRP stock, and approval increases my share value, and potential higher dividends, and I'm still against the project. I've driven through Alberta to pick up a new dog, and it looks like the worst third world country imaginable, the land, and the air, black, dingy, not good.

February 07 2014 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mark Samuels's comment
palmejn

Oh really? My niece lives there, beautiful place, clean air, very high standard of living. Want to see pictures they sent THIS morning? Hey maybe you were in Mexico City for a Chi - air so bad you can;t see 3 feet. And About LA and CA? Where is there smog coming from? CHINA - biggest polluter in the world along with India. Oil can stay in USA by agreement. Oh and Yes - where do we already import the largest amount of oil from - which country??
Whats your answer?? IT'S CANADA - OUR LARGEST AMOUNT OF IMPORTED OIL COMES FROM CANADA.

February 07 2014 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
billybuttlooker

The GOP has no class or clout anymore They are all out for themselves only

February 07 2014 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to billybuttlooker's comment
Danny

And the democrats aren't? All politicians are in it for their own gain, be it ego or financially.

February 07 2014 at 10:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Danny's comment
rbrtkyte

Rhetoric ...!!
We've heard all of it Danny ,Trust me ..its not the Democrats ,watch something besides FOX news and you'll see the REAL facts

February 07 2014 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Steve

Who's willing to bet that someone in the Tea Party isn't going to allow a clean debt ceiling increase and we'll have more 11th hour histrionics. Do we have any bettors out there?

February 07 2014 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment
Danny

The Tea Party is the closest thing there is to common sense these days. Certainly better that this current administration.

February 07 2014 at 10:21 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Danny's comment
greenliks

The tea party is a game small children play. 90% of all gov't officials are idiots , the remaining 10% are rapidly acquiring the same fame. Needless to say they will most likely get re elected as voters are just simple fools with no winners to vote for.

February 07 2014 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down