POLITICS: PennAve

John Boehner: Not enough votes in House to pass clean debt limit

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ABC,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Tim Mak,Government Shutdown

House Speaker John Boehner insisted Sunday that Republicans would not accept any deal to increase debt ceiling unless it includes concessions from Democrats on substantial spending and policy changes.

"We are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," Boehner, R-Ohio, said on ABC's "This Week." "The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit.

President Obama has said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling increase, which if not approved by Oct. 17 would force the federal government to default on its financial obligations for the first time in its history. But congressional Republicans seeking spending cuts and entitlement reforms hope to pressure him into coming to the bargaining table.

"Every president in modern history has negotiated over a debt limit," Boehner said. "Debt limits have been used to force big policy changes in Washington. And guess what? They're going to be used again."

The speaker said he was "ready for the phone call" from Democrats to negotiate and insisted he was a "reasonable guy." But he blamed Obama's "refusal to talk" for pushing the nation toward financial default.

"I've been willing to sit down with the president," Boehner said. "His refusal to negotiate is what's putting the government at risk of default."

Boehner and other congressional leaders last huddled at the White House on Wednesday, but little progress appears to have been made in efforts to reopen the government or to break the impasse on the debt ceiling.

Boehner said he didn't know how long the shutdown, which entered its sixth day Sunday, would last.

"If I knew," he said, "I'd tell you."

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