NPR logo Speaker Boehner: Debt Limit Is Obama's Problem

Speaker Boehner: Debt Limit Is Obama's Problem

Speaker John Boehner appears to be trying to distance himself and fellow congressional Republicans from the onrushing train that is a potential federal government default if policymakers fail to agree on a debt-ceiling increase.

At a news conference Tuesday, Boehner said:

"But the fact is that House Republicans have a plan. We passed our budget back in the spring, outlined our priorities. Where is the president's plan? When's he going to lay his cards on the table? This debt limit increase is his problem and I think it's time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table – something that the Congress can pass."


What makes Boehner's remark and apparent strategy so interesting is that the public appears less sure than the speaker that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be Obama's problem.

For instance, in a June poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Washington Post, 42 percent of respondents said they would view the Republicans as mainly responsible for a default compared with 33 percent who said they'd view the Obama Administration as most at fault.

Another poll released Monday by the same organizations found a higher percentage of political independents in July compared with May who said they were worried about what a failure to raise the debt ceiling could mean for the economy. They are care clearly concerned, along with a majority of Democratic voters, that the fallout could fall on them.

So there are some strong indicators that the debt-ceiling isn't really, as Boehner said, Obama's problem.