House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama wants the “unlimited ability” to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, which he opposed as a senator and presidential candidate.
“Do you think that Senator Reid or then-Senator Obama would have ever given to President George W. Bush, the unlimited ability to raise the debt limit?” Boehner said on Thursday at his weekly press briefing.
“I know they’re talking about doing it now. Do you think there’s any chance that Senator Reid or then-Senator Obama would have done that? Zero. Congress is never going to give up our ability to control the purse and the fact is the debt limit ought to be used to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C.”
Boehner’s remarks were in response to a question about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s support for giving Obama the power to unilaterally increase the nation’s borrowing authority.
The executive authority to raise the debt ceiling without Congress is part of the White House’s fiscal cliff proposal, which was presented to congressional leaders by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
In 2008, then-presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said raising the nation’s debt limit was “unpatriotic.”
“The problem is that the way Bush has done it in the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion from the first 42 presidents. No. 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome. So we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. $30,000 for every man woman and child. That’s irresponsible, that’s unpatriotic,” Obama said.
The Daily Caller recently asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if she supports giving the president such a power.
“Yes,” she responded.