House Speaker John Boehner said “it’s clear” the U.S. must raise its debt limit, responding to President Barack Obama’s efforts to secure backing to extend the government’s borrowing authority.

“At some point it’s clear to me that we have to increase the debt ceiling,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And as we do, we’re going to do it in a way that addresses America’s long-term fiscal challenges.”

Republicans are seeking spending cuts and no tax increases in exchange for supporting a higher debt limit. The government projected this month that the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling will be reached today. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that while he can juggle accounts for a time, he will run out of options for avoiding default by early August.

Boehner said that “for quite a while” he has privately discussed with Obama his idea for making drastic spending cuts and changes in entitlements like Medicare and other programs in tandem with raising the debt ceiling.

The speaker said he told Obama, “‘Let’s lock arms and jump out of the boat together.’ I am serious about dealing with this. And I hope he is just as serious.”

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