WH not expecting demands on debt limit

The White House on Thursday said it "wouldn't expect" House Republicans to ask for concessions in return for a debt-ceiling increase.

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White House press secretary Jay Carney pointed to last year's government shutdown, when Republicans agreed to pass a short-term budget and reopen the government once the nation approached the debt limit.

Carney added that "pursuing that path is always a bad idea, and is harmful particularly to the middle class."

"We wouldn't expect that kind of action to be taken," Carney said.

But a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said lawmakers would need concessions from the White House to hike the debt ceiling.

"The Speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it, but a 'clean' debt-limit increase simply won't pass in the House. We hope and expect the White House will work with us on a timely, fiscally responsible solution," Boehner aide Michael Steel said.

In a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Congress would likely need to raise the debt ceiling by late February to avoid a potential default.

“I respectfully urge Congress to provide certainty and stability to the economy and financial markets by acting to raise the debt limit before February 7, 2014, and certainly before late February,” Lew wrote. 

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