Carney: 'Unconscionable' for GOP to Demand Spending Cuts for Increasing Debt Limit

By Fred Lucas | December 13, 2012 | 4:05 PM EST

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (AP Photo)

( – The White House defended its demand Thursday to grant President Barack Obama unilateral authority to raise the debt ceiling at will, unless two-thirds of Congress votes to prevent it.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney even called the Republican move in 2011 to demand cuts before raising the debt ceiling “unconscionable.”

House Speaker John Bohner (R-Ohio) has argued that Obama’s proposal for a $1.6 trillion tax hike, $50 billion in new stimulus spending and unilateral control of the debt ceiling was “unserious.” Boehner countered with an offer of $800 billion in new taxes by limiting deductions.

“In the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, Washington was able to erase deficits for the first time in decades and create surpluses for the first time in decades. Did Congress then flirt with default when the debt ceiling was raised? The answer is no,” Carney said.

“Did Congress under George W. Bush flirt with default? No. Because our economy would slow down, and job creation would slow down, because one party insisted on demands that it insisted on being met. It happened once, and it happened last year when Speaker Boehner was speaker of the House,” he said.

Carney continued, “The American economy cannot afford the consequences of that political gamesmanship. It is unconscionable to imagine.”