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McConnell: No debt ceiling increase without cutting debt

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Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday there is “bipartisan opposition” in the chamber to increasing the nation’s debt ceiling unless Congress also takes “significant” steps to reduce the federal debt.

And the “definition of significant,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters, means that “what we do is viewed as credible by the (financial) markets, by the American people, and by foreign countries.”

“No blue smoke and mirrors, no gamesmanship,” he added. “A serious and credible path forward, not only short term but long term, to reduce spending is the only thing, in my judgment, that will get the votes in the Senate to raise the debt ceiling.”

Mr. McConnell and other Capitol Hill leaders met earlier in the day with President Obama at the White House to discuss the nation’s debt woes and other issues.

The debt ceiling — the government’s legal limit on how much it can borrow to pay for its operations — was last raised to $14.294 trillion in February 2010.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner predicted last week the federal government will reach its debt ceiling no later than May 16 and urged Congress to quickly raise the limit or risk another national financial crisis.

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