BREAKING: House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) has announced in a letter to House Republicans that he has ended negotiations with the White House, citing President Obama’s intransigence on taxes and his refusal to engage on meaningful entitlement reform. In effect, there will be no “grand bargain” and lawmakers will now focus on various contingency options:
“A deal was never reached and was never really close,” Boehner wrote. “I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.”
Boehner blamed Obama’s demand for higher taxes and opposition to “fundamental changes” to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“In the end, we couldn’t connect,” Boehner wrote. “Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country. The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs.”
Boehner and senior House GOP aides said there is a common bicameral desire to avoid default on August 2, but have no legislative approach to achieve that goal.
“I believe there is a shared commitment on both sides of the aisle to producing legislation that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead,” Boehner wrote.
Full text of the letter:
Our economy is not creating enough jobs, and the policies coming out of Washington are a big reason why. Because of Washington, we have a tax code that is stifling job creation. Because of Washington, we have a debt crisis that is sowing uncertainty and sapping the confidence of small businesses. Because of Washington, our children are financing a government spending binge that is jeopardizing their future.
Since the moment I became Speaker, I’ve urged President Obama to lock arms with me and seize this moment to do something significant to address these challenges. I’ve urged him to partner with congressional Republicans to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country. . .something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our institutions of government, and help small businesses get back to creating jobs.
The House this week passed such a plan. . .the Cut, Cap & Balance Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
Along with Majority Leader Cantor, I have also engaged the president in a dialogue in recent days. The purpose of this dialogue was to see if we could identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law.
During these discussions – as in my earlier discussions – it became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children’s future.
A deal was never reached, and was never really close.
In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.
The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.
The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won’t be there for their generation unless significant action is taken now.
For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.
The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have not been participants in the conversations I and Leader Cantor have had with the White House; nor have the Republican leaders of the Senate. But I believe there is a shared commitment on both sides of the aisle to producing legislation that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead – legislation that reflects the will of the American people, consistent with the principles of the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act that passed the House with bipartisan support this week.
I wanted to alert you to these developments as soon as possible. Further information will be coming as soon as it is available. It is an honor to serve with you. Together, we will do everything in our power to end the spending binge in Washington and help our economy get back to creating jobs.