The Corner

Boehner on Debt Limit: Let’s Talk Trillions

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) will mark out a firm Republican position regarding the debt ceiling in his speech this evening at the Economic Club of New York (7 p.m., watch live here). He will insist that while allowing the country to default would be “irresponsible,” voting to raise the debt limit without spending cuts and reforms would be far worse in terms of the economic consequences.

Most significantly, the speaker will demand that any increase to the debt limit be offset by spending cuts of a greater amount. “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase,” Boehner plans to say, according to excerpts obtained by National Review Online. “And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”

In other words, if President Obama wants to be able to borrow trillions more (and he does), he will have to consider meaningful reforms to entitlement programs — the primary drivers of the country’s debt problem — in exchange for Republican votes.

The measures attached to a debt ceiling increase, Boehner will say, “should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future,” and everything is on the table except tax increases, including “honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare.” Consider that yet another push back against the conventional media narrative that Republicans had “given up” on Medicare reform. “[W]ith millions of Baby Boomers beginning to retire, the status quo [on Medicare] is unsustainable,” Boehner will say.

On taxes, the speaker will reiterate the Republican position that higher taxes will have adverse effects on job creation and economic growth. “Balancing the budget requires spending cuts and economic growth,” he plans to say. “We won’t have economic growth if we raise taxes and fail to address the drivers of our debt. The mere threat of tax hikes causes uncertainty for job creators — uncertainty that results in less risk-taking and fewer jobs.”

Boehner will also go after the Obama administration’s energy policies, claiming that it is “simply untrue” that nothing can be done to reign in rising fuel prices. “Washington has also kept most of our nation’s vast energy resources under lock and key for decades, over the clear objections of the American people — the people who own those resources. If we had listened to the people decades ago — or even a few years ago — many of these resources would be available to us right now to lower the price of energy.” 

The current debt limit of $14.3 trillion is expected to be reached shortly, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently floated an increase of $2 trillion in order to meet the government’s obligations into early 2013. Geithner had urged action from Congress before May 16 but since extended the deadline to August 2.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

Most Popular

Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More
U.S.

What Happened to California Republicans?

From 1967 to 2019, Republicans controlled the California governorship for 31 of 52 years. So why is there currently not a single statewide Republican officeholder? California also has a Democratic governor and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Only seven of California’s 53 ... Read More