By Mike Lillis - 05/17/12 03:58 PM EDT
GOP leaders are being "immature" and "irresponsible" for drawing lines in the sand ahead of another debt-ceiling fight, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged this week.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made a high-profile speech earlier in the week vowing to oppose another debt-limit hike unless it's accompanied by spending cuts at least as large.
"To toss this into the mix right now, saying we have to have cuts that exceed even the … extent to which we lift the debt ceiling, is really immature [and] irresponsible," she said. "Let's get serious."
Last summer's debt-ceiling fight lasted months and led Standard & Poor's to downgrade the United States’s triple-A credit rating for the first time in the country's history.
The reason was not the country's fiscal situation, per se. Instead, the analysts cited Washington's partisan gridlock and a lack of confidence in Congress’s ability to forge an effective strategy to rein in deficit spending.
Pelosi on Thursday called for a quick resolution to prevent history from repeating itself.
"Let's put an end to it. This is not a wholesome debate. It already can be damaging, just the fact that it's brought up," she said. "I think we should snuff it out."
During a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Boehner promised President Obama a partisan clash over raising the debt ceiling, saying he won't agree to such a move without spending cuts of greater magnitude.
“It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, and the American people think we're crazy," Boehner told CNN Tuesday. "They're ready for Washington to take action. I'm here. I'm ready to do it. Let's go."
Pelosi said voters want the parties to work together on a balanced approach that would include spending cuts, entitlement reforms and tax revenue increases – a package similar to the agreement Boehner and President Obama worked toward last summer before it was rejected by conservatives in Boehner's caucus who oppose any new revenues.
"We know we have to balance the budget … we have to have revenue on the table, and we have to invest in growth," Pelosi said.
She also took a shot at the Republican position that it's acceptable to allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.
"The very fact that they would say, 'Tax cuts for the wealthy don't have to be offset, but investments in the education of children, Medicare for our seniors – any other subject – that has to be offset' is really a statement of their values," Pelosi said.