Debt talks can include everything but cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Republicans say

House Oversight Committee on fraud and wasteful spending during the pandemic in Washington, U.S.
The U.S. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY) oversees a hearing on "fraud and waste in federal pandemic spending" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Republicans say they would not cut Social Security and Medicare programs but "everything else is on the table" in talks over raising U.S. government borrowing limits, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said on Sunday.

"We need to shore those programs up. They're running out of money. But at the end of the day, those programs are going to be off the table with respect to cuts, but everything else is on the table," Comer said in an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

The U.S. government neared its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling earlier this month, prompting the Treasury to warn that it may not be able to stave off default past early June.

But as that deadline looms, Republican lawmakers and President Joe Biden are locked in a disagreement over the path to raising the borrowing limit. Biden says he would not negotiate over raising it, while Republicans say they would not agree to raise it without spending concessions.

Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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