By Russell Berman - 05/09/11 08:23 PM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) plans to call for spending cuts that are deeper than the increase in borrowing authority Congress is expected to approve in the coming months.
In an economic address in New York on Monday evening, the Speaker will lay down a significant new marker in the negotiations to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit and avoid a first-ever default by the federal government.
Boehner plans to reiterate his demand that any increase in the debt limit be accompanied by “significant cuts and reforms.”
“And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given,” he plans to say. “We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions. They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future.”
Boehner’s remarks are sure to heighten the brinksmanship surrounding the debt-limit fight, and they serve as a rejection of a call earlier Monday by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for Boehner to explicitly rule out a default.
The U.S. is expected to hit the debt limit on May 16, but Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said the government could avoid a default until early August. Treasury has suggested a hike in the ceiling of about $2 trillion.
Vice President Joe Biden will hold the second in a series of high-level meetings on the issue Tuesday, and President Obama is scheduled to meet with senators from both parties this week.
Boehner will also push to have “honest conversations” about Medicare, days after GOP leaders signaled they were backing away from the party’s proposal to overhaul the entitlement program in its budget blueprint. And the Speaker will push once again to exclude tax increases from any discussion on the debt ceiling.