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Carney: "Deeply Irresponsible" To Demand Spending Cuts To Match Debt Limit Increase

Q: One of the things Speaker Boehner said this morning was that any increase in the debt limit would have to be matched by or exceeded by further spending cuts. That's the same kind of rhetoric that we heard in 2011. Are you concerned that that is being used as leverage again in a way that could be damaging to the United States?

JAY CARNEY: That's a good question, I was struck by that myself. I'd say two things about that: Asking that a political price be paid in order for Congress to do its job to ensure that the United States of America pays its bills and does not default for the first time in its history is deeply irresponsible. It was deeply irresponsible in the summer of 2011 and it would be deeply irresponsible if we were to see that kind of approach taken again. The President absolutely expects Congress to do its job, and one of the jobs that Congress has is to make sure the United States government pays its bills as the greatest economy and the greatest country on earth -- we pay our bills.

The President believes that it is entirely appropriate that Congress take action on this as part of an end-of-the-year deal, if you will, on the issues that confront us -- the fiscal cliff and broader deficit reduction. It would be a terrible mistake and I think would earn deserved approbation from the American public if Congress were to travel that path again. The harm done was done mostly to the American middle class. We had our economy downgraded, we had consumer confidence plunge all because of this brinkmanship that is entirely inappropriate. And we hope we won't see that again.

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