House Speaker John Boehner said “a whale of a fight” is coming over the debt ceiling, contradicting a prediction by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that President Obama will raise the debt limit without negotiating with Congress.
“I’ve made it clear that we’re not going to increase the debt limit without cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit,” Boehner told supporters in Idaho, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Boehner, speaking Monday at a fundraiser for a long-time Republican friend, Rep. Mike Simpson, from the state’s 2nd District.
Boehner said he will demand reforms to mandatory spending programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He also signaled the fight will include stopping the new health care law.
“Our goal here is to stop Obamacare. Our goal here is to cut spending,” Boehner said, according to the paper.
Lew said the Treasury, which reached its $16.7 borrowing limit in May, will run out of cash to pay bills by mid-October.
In a CNBC interview this week, Lew said Obama is “not going to be negotiating over the debt limit.”
But Boehner clearly disagrees and plans to use the debt ceiling debate as “leverage,” he told the Idaho crowd.
“The president doesn’t think this is fair, thinks I’m being difficult to deal with,” Boehner said. “But I’ll say this. It may be unfair but what I’m trying to do here is to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices. We’re going to have a whale of a fight.”
A Boehner aide told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday that there is no official plan of action yet for the debt ceiling showdown.
“When our members return we’ll have further discussion about our options on the debt limit and sequestration, and go from there,” the aide said. “But nothing’s been decided at this point.”