Pelosi: Debt-limit hike 'non-negotiable'

Pelosi: Debt-limit hike 'non-negotiable'
© Greg Nash

Democratic leaders warned Friday that they won't negotiate with Republicans on legislation to raise the debt limit.

Behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the lawmakers said the economic ramifications of a debt default — both domestic and global — are too severe to endanger the bill with additional riders.

ADVERTISEMENT

Siding squarely with President Obama, the Democrats said they won't support anything but a "clean" bill to extend the federal government's borrowing authority.

"Let me be clear, the full faith and credit of the United States of America is not negotiable," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "We want a clean bill in that respect."

The Treasury Department has said the government will begin to default on its obligations if Congress doesn't act first to hike the current cap of $18.1 trillion by Nov. 3.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day MORE (R-Ky.) and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBottom line Cheney battle raises questions about House GOP's future Lott says lobbying firm cut ties to prevent him from taking clients MORE (R-Ohio) have vowed to meet that deadline, but they're facing pressure from the right to attach conservative provisions.

Those pressures are particularly evident in the House, where BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBottom line Cheney battle raises questions about House GOP's future Lott says lobbying firm cut ties to prevent him from taking clients MORE was forced to scrap tentative plans for a Friday vote on a GOP proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion in exchange for almost $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade — a trade-off some conservatives said didn't go far enough but that some centrist members refused to support.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a close Boehner ally, said there is a negotiation underway between the White House and House Republican leadership to work out a deal. He suggested there will likely be provisions to eliminate the sequester spending caps for a year — as Democrats and defense hawks have called for — and some sort of Medicare savings.

But Pelosi suggested that plan won't fly with House Democrats, whom Boehner would need to pass any debt-ceiling hike through the lower chamber.

Pelosi said the Democrats "stand ready to negotiate" on legislation to extend government funding beyond its current Dec. 11 expiration. But on the debt limit, she warned, there's no room for talks.

"I don't have any interest in any coupling," Pelosi said, referring to possible riders. "This is a non-negotiable [issue]."

Vicki Needham contributed.