House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) pushed back against reports that a $4 trillion deficit-reduction package he had been discussing with President Obama included $1 trillion in tax increases.
“There were no tax increases ever on the table. There was never any agreement to allow tax rates to go up,” Boehner told reporters at a brief press conference Monday before heading to the White House for another round of negotiations.
The speaker acknowledged that a substantial gap remained between the two sides and accused Democrats of not being serious about reforming entitlements, the primary drivers of the national debt and deficits. “It takes two to tango and they are not there yet,” Boehner said. “The conversation cannot continue if they’re not serious about fundamental reform of the entitlement process.”
In addition to spending cuts, which are unlikely to be of substantial size absent entitlement reform, Boehner said major spending reforms — such as spending caps and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution — should be included in a deal as well.“To prevent a default, a bill must pass the Congress. A bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives,” he said.