Cantor Escalates Debt Ceiling War GOP ready to plunge nation into default, he warns By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Apr 21, 2011 7:33 AM CDT Updated Apr 21, 2011 7:53 AM CDT 42 comments Comments House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio looks on at left, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 13, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Newser) – Republicans have been outspoken about their opposition to raising the debt ceiling, but comments from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor yesterday appeared to escalate the battle. The GOP "will not grant [Democrats'] request for a debt limit increase" without serious spending cuts or budget process reform, he said, warning that Republicans will put the US into default if their demands are not met. Democrats shot back: A spokesperson for Sen. Charles Schumer called it "beyond irresponsible" to allow the nation to default, while a Vermont rep says Cantor is playing "kamikaze budget politics." Republicans want structural reforms attached to the debt limit vote, like statutory spending caps or a balanced budget amendment, while Democrats want a "clean" vote. The Treasury Department expects the country to hit the debt ceiling between mid-May and July 8, Politico reports.