Boehner: 'We Are Not Going to Raise Taxes on the American People'

By Pete Winn | July 7, 2011 | 12:26 PM EDT

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Washington ( - House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that Republicans will not sign off on an increase in the debt limit that raises taxes.

“The president asked us early this year to increase the debt limit for our country with no changes in spending and no changes in terms of how we spend the American people’s money,” Boehner said at a Capitol Hill news conference with other Republican leaders.

“I made clear that we would not increase the debt limit without real cuts in spending and real changes to the way we spend the American people’s money," said Boehner. "I also said that we would have to cut spending by more than what we would increase the debt ceiling. As these conversations continue, those principles continue to be in place."

“I have also made clear that we are not going to raise taxes on the American people,” Boehner said, adding,  “We are not going to raise taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to help grow jobs.”

The debt limit is the amount of money that the government can legally borrow. That amount is voted on by Congress and it must be signed into law by the president. The limit has been raised 10 times since 2001. The last debt limit increase – from $12.29 trillion to $14.29 trillion (up $1.9 trillion) – was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 12, 2010.

That limit, $14.29 trillion, was surpassed by the government on May 16.  To keep the government operating, the U.S. Treasury, headed by Secretary Timothy Geithner, has suspended payments into two federal pension programs. This will allow the Treasury to continue borrowing money up to about Aug. 2.

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