“I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling, when we have a debt the size of our economy, is irresponsible,” McConnell said Sunday. “So we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country.” And while McConnell again insisted that the U.S. would not default on its debt, he added that “we ought to attach something significant for the country to his request to increase the debt ceiling.”
The U.S. debt limit must be raised by the end of February, says Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, if the U.S. is not to default on its debt. Lew asked Congress in a letter Wednesday to raise the limit by February 7.
Right now, especially after what happened last fall, it’s hard to see the Obama administration compromising on a “clean” debt limit extension, which would have no other policies or spending cuts attached. But McConnell isn’t the only one looking for a fight. “The Speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it, but a ‘clean’ debt limit increase simply won’t pass in the House,” John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel said this week.