Boehner warns that there is no easy way to halt budget cuts
Hard-hitting interview on NBS News' 'Meet the Press' has speaker expressing uncertainty
House Speaker John Boehner warned the American public that there will be no easy way to stop the budget cuts, known as the "sequester" that began taking effect last week. In a forthright interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Boehner voiced uncertainty over how Washington can solve the overall fiscal problems that have consumed the nation's politics for more than two years.
"Every American, in these tough economic times, has to find a way to balance their budget. They've got to make choices," House Speaker John Boehner said. "They expect Washington to live within its means and to make choices as well."
Boehner made clear that he didn't want to "arbitrarily pull out a couple of tax expenditures" just to raise the revenue needed to avert $85 billion in spending cuts to be made in 2013.
President Obama with his colleagues has warned of disastrous consequences to government services and national security if the sequester happens as planned. Obama wants new tax increases, something Boehner and his fellow Republicans have insisted are off the table.
Intended to spur a bipartisan "grand bargain" on deficit reduction, entitlement reform and tax increases, the budget cuts are part of the 2011 Budget Control Act which Obama signed into law. Boehner had voted for the law and urged his members to do likewise.
Neither Boehner nor Obama want the spending cuts to continue. Yet they have been unable to reach an accord on an alternative measure.
Boehner has insisted that the president should abandon his effort to get more tax increases and instead focus on spending.
"Every American, in these tough economic times, has to find a way to balance their budget. They've got to make choices," Boehner said. "They expect Washington to live within its means and to make choices as well.
"It's time for the president and Senate Democrats to get serious about the long-term spending problem that we have."
If Obama has a credible alternative to cuts, Boehner asked, "Why wouldn't Senate Democrats go ahead and pass it?"
Obama has insisted that any plan to replace the sequester must include new tax increases. Among the suggested cuts, would be changing the tax treatment of corporate jets, and by ending tax preferences for oil and gas producers.
Boehner said Obama had already gotten his tax increase in the deal that he made with Republicans in December. "The president got $650 billion of higher taxes on the American people on January the first," Boehner said. "How much more does he want?
"American family's wages aren't growing," the House speaker said. "They're being squeezed. And as a result, we've got to find a way through our tax code to promote more economic growth in our country. We can do this by closing loopholes, bringing the (tax) rates down for all Americans, making the tax code fairer. It will promote more economic growth."
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