John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that giving the president control of the debt ceiling is "silliness."
"Congress is never going to give up this power," the House Speaker told Fox News Sunday. "I've made it clear to the president, that every time we get to the debt limit, we need to cut some reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. It's the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone."
The White House's proposed fiscal cliff deal includes a provision to hand over debt ceiling powers to the executive branch. As it stands, only Congress can approve raising the debt limit. Last year, negotiations over whether or not to raise the debt ceiling led to a months-long standoff between Democrats and Republicans. In one incident, Boehner reportedly walked out of a meeting at the White House.
The White House on Thursday proposed a deal to address the fiscal cliff, a series of spending cuts and tax hikes set to go into effect at the end of this year. Besides the debt ceiling powers, the proposal includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade.
Republicans reportedly laughed off the deal. Boehner on Sunday called the proposal "nonserious" and said he told Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, "you can't be serious."