Boehner to Democrats on debt limit: It’s the GOP’s way or the highway

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today reiterated the Republican’s demands for increasing the debt limit: No tax increases, massive cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and a balanced budget amendment.

“A bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives,” Boehner said at a press briefing before another around of negotiations with the White House on Monday.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) at a press briefing before Monday's debt limit negotiations at the White House. PHOTO SOURCE:

Transcript of House Speaker John Boehner’s press briefing on the debt limit negotiations (7/11/11):

“Good afternoon everyone. I appreciate what the President said today about the need for us to come together and to get this done. Our disagreements are not personal; they never have been. But the gulf between the two parties now is about policy. It’s not about process, and it’s not about personalities.

“The President and I agree that the current levels of spending, including entitlement spending, are unsustainable. President and I do not agree on his view that government needs more revenue through higher taxes on job creators.

“The President and I also disagree on the extent of the entitlement problem and what is necessary in order to solve it.

“Most Americans would say a balanced approach is a simple one. The administration gets its debt limit increase, and the American people get their spending cuts and their reforms. Adding tax increases to the equation doesn’t balance anything.

“The American people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs. The last thing we should be doing right now, at a time of 9.2% unemployment, is enacting more government policies that will destroy jobs. What the American people want is for us to work together to remove government barriers that are getting in the way of job creation and real economic growth. Two of the biggest obstacles to job growth that we face are out-of-control entitlement spending and the current tax code.

“I think the fundamental questions are this: Can you control government spending without fundamentally reforming entitlements? I think the answer is no. Do you need to raise taxes in order to get control over spending? I think the answer is no. If you want to see an increase in government revenues, then let’s grow the economy, create jobs, broaden the tax base, and lower rates. As Senator Rubio said last week, “We don’t need more taxes. We need more taxpayers.”

“So our disagreement with the President is not about closing loopholes; none of us are fond of loopholes. Our disagreement is over the idea of raising taxes on the very people that we’re asking to create jobs in our country.

“I would agree with the President that the national debt limit must be raised. I’m glad he made the case for it today. But the American people will not accept – and the House cannot pass – a bill that raises taxes on job creators. The House can only pass a debt limit bill that includes spending cuts larger than the hike in the debt limit as well as real restraints on future spending.

“My colleagues and I believe we should enact a balanced budget amendment to keep the federal government from spending us into the same situation again.

“I think we also need real reduction in spending right now and spending caps to ensure that any progress that we make is not undone in the future.

“Listen, I agree with the President that we cannot allow our nation to default on our debt. But to prevent a default, a bill must pass Congress. A bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives. This is the message we will take again to the White House today and hope we can work our way through this.”



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