WASHINGTON U.S. House Speaker John Boehner voiced optimism on Thursday about new deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden, but said Republicans will not vote to raise the U.S. debt limit without trillions of dollars in spending cuts.
"I'm always optimistic that these conversations will lead somewhere," Boehner said shortly after Biden opened the first meeting of a seven-member, bipartisan congressional group.
"I wish them well. I hope we that we can come to some agreement and as soon as possible," said Boehner.
The speaker reaffirmed his position that he and his fellow Republicans would not agree to an increase in the U.S. debt limit without budget reforms and "real spending cuts."
Asked to define "real spending cuts," Boehner said, "It is time to start talking about trillions" of dollars, instead of the billions and tens of billions debated in earlier budget battles this year.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; editing by Doina Chiacu)