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Boehner: Lack of a debt deal could place economy 'in jeopardy'

July 08, 2011|By Lisa Mascaro | Washington Bureau
(Brendan Smialowski / Getty…)

House Speaker John Boehner on Friday sent an unequivocal message to naysayers in his party who doubt there will be a fiscal upheaval if Congress fails to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by the August deadline set by the Obama administration.

“While some think we can go past Aug. 2, I frankly think it puts us in an awful lot of jeopardy -- and puts our economy in jeopardy -- risking even more jobs,” Boehner told reporters.

Still, the speaker expressed his own deep skepticism that a broad budget deal could be struck in the days ahead.

“It’s not like there’s an imminent deal about to happen,” Boehner said. “There are serious disagreements about how to deal with this very serious problem.”

Boehner has indicated an willingness to engage with the White House on crafting a politically difficult grand bargain to reduce federal deficits by as much as $4 trillion over the next decade.

Republican and Democratic aides are working around the clock on proposals both parties could accept, as leaders prepare meet again Sunday with President Obama at the White House. The goal is to have Congress reach an agreement within the next two weeks, ahead of the deadline.

But Boehner’s conservative flank is reluctant to support any deal, as many lawmakers are fundamentally opposed to giving the federal government more authority to borrow to cover its debt.

Asked what he expected to emerge from Sunday’s debt summit, Boehner was noncommittal.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think this problem,” he said, holding his hands wide apart, “has narrowed at all in the last several days.”


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