As the US government is about to hit its borrowing limit again, President Barack Obama says he will not negotiate with Republicans on raising debt ceiling.
In an interview with ABC's "This Week" program which was recorded on Friday and aired Sunday, President Obama said he will not comply with House Speaker John Boehner’s demand to cut government spending in return for House Republicans’ agreement that the administration can continue paying its obligations through borrowing more. "I’m happy to have a conversation with him [Boehner] about how we can deal with the so-called sequester, which is making across-the-board cuts on stuff that we shouldn’t be cutting," Obama said. "What I haven’t been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling." The federal government is expected to hit its debt limit in mid-October. The nation’s borrowing limit is currently set at $16.7 trillion. Meanwhile, the US government will shut down if Congress fails to pass a budget or a temporary spending bill by next month. The debt ceiling debate between Democrats and Republicans has a long history. Congressional Republicans are using the debt ceiling as leverage to make Obama delay all or part of his health care reform law. Obama called the GOP’s demands unprecedented. "Never in history have we used just making sure that the US government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they're talking about," he said. "It's never happened before. There've been negotiations around the corners, because nobody had ever presumed that you'd actually threaten the United States to default." Obama said routine use of debt ceiling as leverage by Congress "changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely." Boehner, on the other hand, seems determined to pursue his demands. "The American people know that Washington has a spending problem, and they won't support another increase in the debt limit without meaningful action to reduce spending and reform government," wrote Boehner in an op-ed earlier this month. "For decades, the White House, the Congress have used the debt limit to find bipartisan solutions on the deficit and the debt," Boehner said last week. "So President Obama is going to have to deal with this as well."