White House: Obama hasn’t changed on ‘clean’ debt vote
White House officials maintained Friday that the administration wants to see a “clean” increase to the federal debt limit, despite President Obama saying it will likely be paired with spending cuts.
The administration has maintained for months that Congress should not attach other provisions to a vote to increase the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which it expects to hit in mid-May. Republicans are demanding major spending reforms in exchange for their votes to raise that limit.
But in a Friday interview, the president said he expects some spending cuts to be part of the deal, seemingly changing the administration’s stance in the negotiations.
“I think it’s absolutely right that it’s not going to happen without some spending cuts,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
However, when asked about the president’s comment, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it is “imperative” that a debt-limit vote not be “held hostage to any other action, because of the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling.”
Jack Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, struck a similar tone in an interview airing this weekend.
“Our very strong view is that the debt limit should be passed as a clean, standalone bill,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt.”
Rather, Carney maintained that a hike to the debt ceiling and ongoing efforts to rein in the deficit are both necessary, but not connected.
“These are both urgent, but they’re not linked,” he said, while leaving the door open to compromise with Republicans.
“He recognizes he’s not going to get 100 percent of what he wants,” he added.
On the House floor Friday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made clear that he had no intentions of sending the White House a clean increase.
“The president wants a clean bill, and the American people will not tolerate it,” he said. “Let me be clear: There will be no debt-limit increase unless it’s accompanied by serious spending cuts and real budget reforms.”