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Boehner: ‘We’re not going to default’ on debt

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner promised Thursday that the GOP-controlled House won’t miss a late-February deadline to increase the government’s borrowing cap.

“Look, we do not want to default on our debt, and we’re not going to default on our debt,” Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican held open the possibility that the House could consider a debt limit increase that’s “clean” of any GOP add-ons.

Boehner is struggling to win enough support among Republicans to pass a debt limit measure without help from Democrats. He has already discarded adding provisions to the must-pass measure such as a mandate that the Obama administration approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The government reaches its borrowing limit on Friday, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is employing bookkeeping maneuvers to buy a few weeks’ time for Congress to act. Lifting the cap on the government’s more than $17 trillion debt is needed to permit the government to meet all of its obligations, including Social Security benefits, interest payments on U.S. treasuries, federal workers’ salaries and payments to federal contractors. Failing to do so would be unprecedented and, experts warn, could roil financial markets and the economy.