WASHINGTON Jan 24 Democrats in Congress will
not negotiate with Republicans demanding concessions in exchange
for raising the U.S. debt ceiling, the Democratic chairwoman of
the Senate Budget Committee said on Friday.
"We will not negotiate over whether or not the United States
of America should pay its bills," Senator Patty Murray said in a
letter to colleagues. "And once again, before they get any
further down this damaging path, we call on our Republican
colleagues to not play politics with our economic recovery."
The United States is expected to reach the debt ceiling in
late February and debt-limit fights have proven costly in the
past, helping cost the United States its top-tier credit rating
from Standard and Poor's in 2011.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said his
fellow Republicans will not pass a debt increase without some
concessions from Democrats.
"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. We hope and expect the White
House and Senate Democrats will work with us on a timely,
fiscally responsible solution," Boehner's spokesman, Michael
Steel, said in a statement.
Some of the demands Republicans are considering include
expanding offshore energy production, small changes in President
Barack Obama's healthcare law and approval of the Keystone XL
Obama has vowed not to negotiate over raising the debt
limit, arguing that it is Congress' responsibility to ensure
that its spending obligations can be paid.
House Republicans likely will formulate their conditions for
an increase in U.S. borrowing authority next week at a retreat
"We hope that coming out of this meeting, they will agree to
build on the bipartisan budget work done so far, join Democrats
in passing a clean debt ceiling bill, and focus on the real long
and short-term challenges facing the families and communities we
serve," Murray said.