Senate GOP presses White House on size of debt limit increase

“Make no mistake: we do not support default by the U.S. government on its obligations and promises,” the 11 Republicans wrote.

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“Unfortunately, given the growth of America’s debt and absent changes to our entitlement programs, which are driving our debt, we will be consciously choosing a future defined by defaults on our promises embedded in the disability and retirement components of Social Security and our promises in Medicare.”

Sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and John Thune (S.D.), both members of GOP leadership, also sit on Finance, as does a former chairman of the panel, Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Lawmakers are currently focused on next week’s deadline for government funding, leaving some worried that the debt ceiling is so far getting short shrift.

The 2011 debt limit deal pushed the issue back past the 2012 election, and there’s no reason to believe the White House isn’t interested in taking the ceiling off the table until after next year’s midterms.

In a letter of his own on Wednesday, Lew told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the 2011 fight, which led to an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S.’s credit, caused the sort of harm to the country’s economy that shouldn’t be repeated.

"Raising the debt limit is Congress’s responsibility because Congress, and Congress alone, is empowered to set the maximum amount the government can borrow to meet its financial obligations," Lew said last week.

But House Republicans are on the verge of rolling out a vast wish list in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, including a one-year delay of the healthcare law and some Medicare and Medicaid changes.