President Obama in an interview broadcast Sunday amplified his warning that he won't negotiate with GOP leaders on raising the debt ceiling.
With the government expected to hit its spending limit in mid-October, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans are planning to use that deadline as leverage to exact steep spending cuts from the Democrats.
But Obama in the interview, recorded Friday, vowed that the strategy won't work.
"I’m happy to have a conversation with him [Boehner] about how we can deal with the so-called sequester, which is making across-the-board cuts on stuff that we shouldn’t be cutting," Obama said in an interview with ABC's "This Week" program. "What I haven’t been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling."
The remarks foreshadow yet another showdown between Boehner and the president over the process of ensuring the country doesn't default on its debts. Earlier this month, the Speaker argued that tying the debt-ceiling hike to deficit-reduction efforts is nothing unusual.
"Coupling efforts to reduce America's debt and deficit with increases in the debt limit is a common-sense policy that was used under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton — and President Obama," Boehner wrote in a USA Today op-ed earlier this month.
"The American people know that Washington has a spending problem, and they won't support another increase in the debt limit without meaningful action to reduce spending and reform government."
Obama, however, rejected the notion that the GOP's demands have historical precedent.
"When it comes to budgets, we’ve never had the situation in which a party said that, you know, 'Unless we get our way 100 percent, then we’re gonna let the United States default,' " he told ABC.
The debt ceiling is one of two looming fiscal deadlines Congress must soon address, as the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and lawmakers are hoping to pass a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown the following day.
The process hit a wall last week, when a House GOP plan to extend funds through mid-December drew intense opposition from conservative Republicans, who wanted stronger language to defund Obama's healthcare reform law.
The revolt forced Boehner and other GOP leaders to pull their bill from the floor. They have yet to announce what changes they will make to attract more support the next time around.
“There are a million options that are being discussed by a lot of people,” Boehner told reporters Thursday.