Speaker John Boehner today will demand that any debt limit increase this year or next be offset by spending cuts and reforms that exceed the increase, according to remarks prepared for delivery.
Boehner is scheduled to speak at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit this afternoon. His call to offset a debt limit increase marks the first indication of the GOP’s negotiating position as Congress approaches a busy lame-duck session, and it reiterates the House GOP position that led, in part, to the brinksmanship last August over the debt ceiling.
"We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it,” the Ohio Republican will say. “It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction.”
Boehner's demand for offsets to the debt limit increase last year was incorporated into the Budget Control Act, which increased the debt limit by more than $2 trillion. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for another increase at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
“When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance,” Boehner will say. “If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it — but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”
Democrats have insisted that any "grand bargain" to solve the country's debt and deficit problems must include revenue reforms, including tax increases on wealthy families. However, Boehner is planning to lay down a marker on that issue as well. House Republicans are expected to push a one- to two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts this summer.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.