Senator Ted Cruz vowed to use a debate over raising the federal debt ceiling as leverage to extract a new round of U.S. spending cuts, even as House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that defaulting would be “the wrong thing” for the country.
Cruz, the freshman Texas Republican who led the fight to defund Obamacare that contributed to a 16-day partial government shutdown in October, said today that he wouldn’t give in to Democratic demands to raise the debt limit without conditions.
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“We should not raise the debt ceiling without significant structural reforms that address the out of control spending and out of control debt in Washington,” Cruz said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. “The debt ceiling is the natural lever point to address the out-of-control spending and debt. It has historically been the most effective lever point to doing so.”
Cruz’s comments came as Boehner, an Ohio Republican, refused to say whether House Republicans would seek to attach spending reductions to a debt-ceiling increase.
“We believe that defaulting on our debt is the wrong thing,” Boehner said today. “We don’t want to do that. And so we’re going to have a conversation this afternoon about the way forward on this issue.”
House Republicans are holding a policy retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, today and tomorrow to plan their strategy for raising the federal borrowing cap four months after a dispute over funding the government brought the U.S to the brink of default.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said Congress should raise the debt ceiling as soon as possible, and that the U.S. will reach its borrowing limit by late February.
President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have said Democrats won’t accept any conditions on raising the debt ceiling.
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