Jack Lew

The White House is not open to negotiating terms for the next debt ceiling increase, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says.

During an interview to air Sunday on CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS, Lew said top administration officials are intent on separating the debt ceiling from the broader debate over fiscal policy this year.

“The president has made very clear that we will not negotiate over whether or not the government should default and we will not get into a negotiation like 2011, over the debt ceiling,” Lew said.

The messy 2011 fight, which paved the way for this year’s sequestration cuts, was too painful to repeat, Lew said. Though an eleventh-hour deal narrowly averted a government shutdown, U.S. markets – and the country’s credit rating – took a hit.

“It caused real damage to the economy.  That can never be allowed to happen again,” Lew said. “That’s one of the reasons the president said Congress has to just increase the debt limit and we have to put at ease the concerns that the United States could once again find itself in a crisis of its own.”
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