Boehner: Obama should negotiate on debt, but not with me

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants President Obama to negotiate on the debt ceiling — just not with him.

The same day he castigated Obama for being more willing to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin than Congress, Boehner said he had no intention of returning to the one-on-one grand bargain talks he pursued with Obama in 2011. 

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“I’m not doing that,” Boehner told reporters. “The House is going to pass a bill. We expect the Senate to pass a bill. I would guess the president would engage with the majority leader over there if he so desires,” the Speaker added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

With his Speakership in jeopardy, Boehner in January told House Republicans he would abandon one-on-one negotiations with Obama in favor of a return to “regular order” whereby the House and Senate pass bills and reconcile them.

With Obama refusing to negotiate, the Speaker has found himself in the awkward position of trying to draw the president back to the bargaining table. 

The Speaker has spent the last several days imploring Obama to disavow his stated refusal to bargain over the nation’s borrowing authority. 

On Thursday he cited a number of bipartisan deficit reduction agreements that were struck around an increase in the debt ceiling.

“You know, most presidents refer to their bipartisan efforts to reduce the deficit as ‘achievements,’ ” Boehner said. “The president sees this as ‘extortion.’ ”

“So, while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won’t engage with the Congress on a plan that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy. Let me just be clear here: a debt-limit increase without any reforms to lower our deficit just isn’t going to cut it.”

House Republicans have planned a special meeting Friday morning to hash out their plans for a debt-ceiling bill. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has said the increase would include a one-year delay of Obama’s healthcare law and a path forward for tax reform and the Keystone oil pipeline. The House could vote as early as next week.

The Treasury Department has said the debt limit will need to be raised by mid-October.