A new era for debt talks?

The decision by House Republicans to bring up a “clean” increase to the debt ceiling hopefully marks the end of an era of default threats, according to a top White House adviser.

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Tuesday the news that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was abandoning efforts to obtain a policy concession in exchange for a borrowing boost marks the beginning of a new era of fiscal negotiations.


“I hope that we as a country have now reached a consensus that, while we will continue to battle mightily on the budget … that the tactic of threatening default or threatening the full faith and credit of the United States for budgets is over, off the table, and never going to happen again,” he said at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

Sperling began the hour-long talk as Republicans considered attaching a fix to recent changes in military pensions to a debt limit boost. Early in the session, he declined to weigh in on that plan, calling the situation “too fluid to comment.”

Roughly half an hour later, that plan had been abandoned due to insufficient GOP support. Instead, Republicans plan to bring to the floor Wednesday a bill that would solely address the $17.2 trillion borrowing cap. Most Republicans are not expected to back the measure, as GOP leaders rely on Democratic support to pass it and send it to the Senate.

Sperling opted not to weigh in on the original GOP plan but simply reiterated President Obama’s “principles” on this debate.

“Our principles on the debt limit have been very clear. We do not support having to pay ransom to pass the debt limit. We do not support anything where somebody is threatening default as a tactic,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the government will run out of its ability to operate under the borrowing cap by Feb. 27.