Republicans asked for so many of the party’s priorities in a bill to raise the debt ceiling that the White House is surprised they didn’t attach a “birther bill.”
“The only thing I didn’t see on it was a birther bill attached to it,” Carney told reporters Thursday at the White House press briefing, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the controversy that first popped up in 2011 over questions about President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
House Republican leadership said Thursday that it will move a bill to raise the debt ceiling that contains a laundry list of conservative wishes, complicating prospects for a deal before an Oct. 17 deadline. Carney rejected those items, which include:
- A one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act
- Instructions for tax reform, under Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget
- Keystone XL Pipeline construction
- An overhaul of Dodd-Frank regulations
- More offshore oil drilling
- Means testing Medicare
- Suspending the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions
- Repeal of the Public Health Trust Fund
Carney also reiterated the Obama administration’s position, which is that the President won’t negotiate over raising the debt ceiling. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew set a firm, drop-dead date of Oct. 17 for Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit or risk default.
“The debt ceiling has to be raised,” Carney said Thursday. “It is not a concession to anybody to do that. It is not a concession to Republicans to do their constitutionally mandated job.” He also accused Republicans of “holding the American people hostage.”
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