Ryan signals new fight on debt limit

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday said Republicans would insist on more concessions for raising the debt limit in early 2014, indicating that the fiscal ceasefire he brokered in a budget deal might not last long.

“We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit,” Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt-limit fight.”

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The two-year budget agreement Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) did not increase the nation’s borrowing authority, which the Treasury Department believes will be needed by March after extraordinary measures are exhausted.

“One step at a time,” Ryan said. “Patty Murray and I knew we weren’t going to solve every problem, like the debt limit problem.”

House and Senate Republicans will discuss their debt-limit strategy at separate party retreats in January, Ryan said.

Asked about the debt limit on Thursday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) similarly deflected the question, saying he was focused on the current budget agreement, which most notably would prevent a government shutdown for the next two years.

Boehner has previously demanded spending cuts or reforms greater than the increase in borrowing authority, although the last two suspensions in the debt limit did not get Republicans much in return.

President Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling after doing so in 2011, and he is expected to maintain that position next year.

In a pair of Sunday interviews, Ryan defended the budget deal as a modest step forward, despite criticism from conservatives.

“I’m not trying to oversell this as an enormous budget accomplishment. It’s not,” he said on Fox. “But it’s important that it prevents government shutdowns. It’s important that it rejects tax increases.”

— This report was updated at 2:05 p.m.

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