Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Boehner Demands Democrats Negotiate With GOP on Spending, Debt Limit

Speaker John A. Boehner summoned reporters to his office suite on Tuesday afternoon for an impromptu news conference during which he reiterated that he will not move to reopen the government or raise the debt ceiling without concessions from Democrats.

“The long and short of it is there’s going to be a negotiation here,” the Ohio Republican declared.

But Boehner’s remarks, delivered shortly after President Barack Obama restated his own refusal to engage in negotiations with Republicans, occurred on the eighth day of the government shutdown and nine days from a deadline to prevent the Treasury Department from defaulting on the country’s finances.

At the president’s news conference, Obama suggested he might be willing to negotiate on a whole host of Republican priorities, but only after Congress passed a “clean,” short-term continuing resolution and debt ceiling extension.

But Boehner dismissed the president’s offer.

“What the president said today was, ‘If there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk about it.’ That’s not the way our government works,’ he said.

Boehner also emphasized that there is precedent for negotiating over the debt ceiling over the past 40 years, and suggested that Obama is stepping outside the bounds of history in his unwillingness to come to the table for talks.

“Over the last 40 years, 27 times, the debt limit has been used to carry significant policy changes that would, in fact reduce spending and put us on a more sustainable path,” Boehner said. “We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and live beyond our means.”

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