White House: Boehner holding debt-ceiling vote 'hostage'

The White House on Tuesday suggested House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is holding a vote to raise the debt ceiling "hostage" as part of deficit reduction negotiations.

“We continue to maintain that the — it is folly to hold hostage the vote to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the United States of America from defaulting on its obligations to any other piece of legislation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

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“We will get a fiscal agreement, we believe. We’re optimistic. We believe we can get that. But to hold one hostage to the other remains extremely unwise in our view,” he said, according to a transcript.

Carney said Obama “believes that the negotiations, the talks being led by the vice president, will continue to be productive as all sides seek common ground towards further deficit reduction.”

Asked about statements by Boehner that the House will not accept a raising of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without trillions in spending cuts, Carney said it is “fine” for negotiators to “restate their starting positions.”

On the other hand, he said that sticking to positions such as Boehner’s — that Medicare reform should be on the table but tax increases should not be — would not be a good thing.

“Maximalist positions do not produce compromise,” he said.