Obama delays request to hike debt ceiling

President Obama on Tuesday called on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to "put politics aside" to pass an extension of the payroll tax cut. Boehner responded, and called on the Obama to do the same.

Payroll tax cut: Obama vs. Boehner
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner

HONOLULU -- At the request of congressional leaders, President Obama is delaying his certification that government spending is again nearing the legal borrowing limit and it must be increased by $1.2-trillion.

On the advice of the Treasury Department, Mr. Obama was poised to declare Friday that the debt of the United States was within $100 billion of the statutory debt ceiling, which now stands at $15.194 trilllion.

Under the Budget Control Act enacted this year, that certification enables the president to call for an increase in the debt limit of $1.2 trillion.

The same law gives Congress 15 days in which to block the debt limit increase by voting a resolution of disapproval. Because neither the House nor Senate is due back in session within 15 days, the leaders asked Mr. Obama to delay his certification, which he agreed to do.

A senior administration official was coy about the way in which the leaders, Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made their request for a delay.

The White House says the Treasury Department can take steps to ensure that the debt subject to limit, now at $15.083-trillion, will not hit the ceiling because of the delay, or adversely impact the government's credit-standing.

"The administration is in discussions with leaders in both houses to determine the best timing for submission of the certification and any subsequent votes in the two houses," said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, briefing reporters in Hawaii with the president, who is on vacation.

A $1.2 trillion increase in the debt limit will eliminate the need for a subsequent hike until the end of 2012 - after the presidential election, according the the Treasury's analysis.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.

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