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John Boehner Sets Up Debt Ceiling Battle With Demand For Major Cuts

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WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) laid down a tough requirement for raising the debt ceiling Thursday, all but ensuring a reprise of the tense standoff two years ago that saw America's credit rating downgraded.

Speaking at his regular news conference, Boehner said the only way the House would go along with raising the country's borrowing cap was if President Barack Obama and the Democrats came up with an equal amount in budget cuts.

"Dollar for dollar is the plan," Boehner told reporters, adding that there have been no major talks on the debt limit at this point.

"The president has been clear that he's not going to address our entitlement crisis unless we're willing to raise taxes. I think the tax issue has been resolved," said Boehner. "So at this point then, I don't know how we're going to go forward."

With the budget cuts from sequestration now taking effect and politicians on all sides trying to further trim the deficit in ongoing budget negotiations, launching yet another round of spending cuts to meet the speaker's standard would be daunting, to say the least.

Republicans have been eying steep cuts to health care and entitlement programs as a way to slash more. Asked if he saw the borrowing cap as leverage to extract entitlement reform from the president, Boehner said, "There might be some there."

"But I'm not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government," he added, suggesting instead that the differences between Republicans and Democrats could be resolved through the ongoing budgetary process.

Boehner is the second GOP leader this week to foretell a new debt showdown this summer. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also did so, arguing that the only way to get Obama to the table for "serious" talks was to drag him ""kicking and screaming over the debt limit.

Earlier this year, House Republicans avoided a confrontation over the debt limit by passing a measure that suspended the nation's borrowing cap until May.

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