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White House refuses to trade budget for debt ceiling hike

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Photo - President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. The president said it appears that an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is "in sight," but says it's not yet complete and work continues.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. The president said it appears that an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff is "in sight," but says it's not yet complete and work continues. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama will not call for Senate Democrats to pass a budget in exchange for a debt ceiling hike, his spokesman said while refusing to say if a budget is important to managing the nation’s financial affairs.

“Congress — the Senate, the House — should act to raise the debt ceiling,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today during the press briefing. “This is not a negotiation the White House is going to have.”

Asked if the budget — which has not been passed in over three years — “is more important than ever,” Carney replied, “That’s a question for the Senate.”

Carney was responding to a report from The Washington Examiner’s Byron York that Senate Republicans are moving to demand a budget from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“I think it should be a firm principle that we should not raise the debt ceiling until we have a plan on how the new borrowed money will be spent,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, told Byron yesterday.

“The presentation of the question was, ‘we will only raise the debt ceiling if this and that happens,’” Carney continued. “Let’s just remember what danger awaits the pursuit of that path. We can and should negotiate over how we continue to reduce our deficits in a balanced way, but we should not play chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States.”

A senior Republican aide suggested that Obama shouldn’t bet on winning this fight. “There is growing support for this idea in Congress every passing day,” the aide said. “Nothing could be more reasonable or sensible then asking Reid to produce a budget plan if he wants a big debt hike. If the White House believes they can join with Reid and win public support for breaking the budget law they are dearly mistaken and will soon realize this.”

 

 

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