By Joe Picard - 09/20/13 11:01 PM EDT
President Obama phoned Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday to tell him he will not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling, according to a readout provided by the Speaker’s office.
“Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the Speaker was disappointed but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead. It was a brief call,” the aide said.
Obama has insisted for months that he will not be “extorted” by Republicans for an increase in the debt ceiling, which will likely be needed sometime next month to prevent the government from the risk of default.
The White House argues the increase in the nation’s borrowing authority is needed to cover bills that Congress has already racked up.
But Boehner says the debt-ceiling has long been used as an opportunity to pursue fiscal reforms, and this week urged Obama to negotiate a deficit-cutting package with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Republicans in the House have threatened to attempt to tie a repeal of the 2010 health care law, Obama's signature legislative achievement, to any legislation that raises the federal debt ceiling.
The GOP-led chamber voted on Friday to include a provision defunding ObamaCare, as the health care law is colloquially known, to a bill that would provide funding to allow the government to keep running beyond Sept. 30.
Obama accused Republicans of not wanting Americans to have health insurance.
"I don't mind them disagreeing with me," he said in a speech to automotive workers in Kansas City, Mo. Friday. "If they don't like the Affordable Care Act, they would rather have people not have health insurance, you know, I am happy to have that debate with them. But you don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don't get your way."
Obama called such actions by House Republicans "the height of irresponsibility."
Dustin Weaver contributed.