For nearly two years, Speaker Boehner has had one simple principle on the debt limit, “the Boehner Principle”: any debt limit increase must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of a greater amount. This rule is the best – and maybe the only – mechanism to bring real spending cuts to Washington. In negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff, President Obama has asked for the authority to increase the debt limit whenever he wants, however high he wants – with no spending cuts. That is never going to happen. Congress controls the purse strings, and it will never hand control of the debt limit over to the President. If President Obama would like to increase the debt limit in a potential fiscal cliff agreement, the length of time will be determined by how much spending the President is willing to cut.