White House ‘encouraged’ by GOP debt vote

January 18, 2013

The White House is "encouraged" by House Republicans' decision to hold a vote next week to raise the debt ceiling for three months and wants to see a "clean debt limit increase," Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.

"The President has made clear that Congress has only two options: pay the bills they have racked up, or fail to do so and put our nation into default," Carney said in a statement. "We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on. Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay. And as he has said, the President remains committed to further reducing the deficit in a balanced way."

President Obama has insisted he will not negotiate with Republicans over raising the the debt limit, which without action would be exceeded sometime in mid-February.

The administration response echoes that of Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). A spokesman for the senator said it was “reassuring to see Republicans beginning to back off their threat to hold our economy hostage" and that the Senate would “be happy to consider” an increase in the debt ceiling that arrives without conditions.

Neither Reid nor the White House responded to the House’s proposal to tie Congress's pay to the passage of a budget.

Natalie Jennings is a Web producer for PostTV.
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Natalie Jennings | January 18, 2013