Topics: Barack Obama

White House won't pay 'ransom' for debt limit hike

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Dan Pfeiffer

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday pressed Republican lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling without conditions, saying that the American people “should not have to pay Congress ransom.”

But Pfeiffer sidestepped questions about whether Obama would veto a bill that did not offer a clean debt hike.

“Our position on this is the same as it was in October and the same as it has been for more than a year,” said Pfeiffer on “Fox News Sunday.” The American people should not have to pay their members of Congress ransom for doing their most basic function which is paying the bills.”

A GOP effort to defund Obamacare led to a 16-day federal government shutdown in October and brought the U.S. to within hours of defaulting on its debt.

The president has urged lawmakers to pass a debt hike without delay, but Republicans say they want to extract further spending cuts or entitlement reforms in exchange for extending the nation’s borrowing limit.

“They have passed what is essentially a debt limit free of ideological riders the last two times they should do it again and spare the country the drama and economic damage,” said Pfeiffer on Sunday.

‘We are doing this the exact same way we’ve done this before; we are not going to pay them ransom,” he said. “Nothing has changed in our position.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote to lawmakers and asked them to raise the debt ceiling by Feb. 7, saying he would run out of “extraordinary measures” to delay a default.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a separate interview on Fox News Sunday, said it would be “irresponsible” of Obama to insist on a clean debt hike.

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