Boehner Will Lift Debt Limit Now--If Obama Will Talk Later

By Susan Jones | October 10, 2013 | 11:26 AM EDT

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) (AP Photo)

( - House Republicans say they'll go for a temporary extension of the debt ceiling in exchange for a "real commitment" from President Obama and Democrats to talk about the nation's pressing problems.

At a news conference Thursday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans are ready to "move half way -- half way to what (Obama's) demanded."

"So what we're going to do is talk to the president today about the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, an agreement to go to conference on the budget -- (in exchange for) his willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to reopen the government and to start to deal with America's pressing problems."

Boehner said it's time for leadership: "It's time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin. And I would hope that the president will look at this as an opportunity and a good-faith effort on our part to move half way -- half way to what he's demanded -- in order to have these conversations begin."

In response to a reporter's question, Boehner said, "Listen, I think the president wants to deal with America's pressing problems just as much as we do.  But in order to deal with these pressing problems, we've got to sit down and have a conversation that leads to a negotiation that begins solve these problems for the future and frankly, our kids and our grandkids."

But what about reopening the government if the president doesn't do anything about Obamacare, a reporter asked.

"If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas," Boehner responded, ending the news conference.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said Republicans will offer legislation that temporarily increases the debt limit "to allow  us some time to continue this conversation, because it is time for solutions."

She said the Democrats' unwillingness to have that conversation "has actually resulted in a delay and an ongoing government shutdown. And it's hurting the American people. It's gone on too long."

At a news conference two days ago, Boehner said, "I agree with the president: we should pay our bills. I didn’t come here to shut down the government, I certainly didn’t come here to default on our debt."

But he also said President Obama must negotiate on the debt limit, as previous presidents have done: "The long and short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation here.”

Boehner said Congress can't raise the debt ceiling "without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means. The idea that we should continue to spend money that we don’t have, and give the bill to our kids and our grandkids, would be wrong."


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