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Policy: Economy

White House expects debt-limit hike 'without drama and without delay'

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Politics,White House,Treasury,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Economy,Budgets and Deficits,Jack Lew,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney

The White House on Thursday said it expects Congress to raise the nation's debt limit “without drama and without delay” and didn't foresee another fiscal fight.

“This is something that is Congress' responsibility and ought to be acted on without drama and without delay,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “It is simply an action that Congress takes in order to pay the bills that Congress has incurred, and therefore should be done in a manner that in no way endangers or disrupts economic growth and job creation.

“I would point back to the disruption caused by the shutdown in October, the harm done to our economy by the threats House Republicans made to our economy through threatening default back in 2011 and suggest that pursuing that path is always a bad idea,” he continued. ”It is harmful particularly to the middle class in the United States.

“We wouldn't expect that kind of action to be taken,” Carney added.

President Obama has insisted that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. House Republicans, though, have suggested that they will not approve a clean debt bill, using the fiscal standoff to extract further cuts to the budget or entitlement program reforms.

The looming fiscal fight comes with memories of October’s federal government shutdown still fresh. Republican efforts to defund Obamacare led to a 16-day partial government shutdown and brought the U.S. to within hours of defaulting on its debt.

Carney's comments come after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday urged lawmakers to hike the borrowing limit before Feb. 7, warning that the U.S. would run out of measures to avoid a default by the end of that month. Lew's letter to Congress moved the key deadline ahead of earlier projections.

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