The Corner

Boehner Puts His Foot Down in Debt Talks

One day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R., Va.) surprise exit from the “Biden talks” appeared to elevate him to the position of lead GOP negotiator, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) firmly reiterated the position of his caucus and called on President Obama to step up and show some leadership if he wants a deal.

The speaker made clear that any proposal containing tax increases, or spending cuts and budget reforms that fail to pass muster, simply does not have the votes to pass the House. “The American people voted for a new majority in the House with clear orders to end the spending binge in Washington,” Boehner said in a statement. “The American people will not accept an increase in the debt limit that is accompanied by job-crushing tax hikes and fails to dramatically cut and reform government spending.”

“They understand that a debt limit deal that raises taxes and fails to rein in spending will hurt our economy and further impede job creation, he added. “And since January, I have been clear: the new majority in the House will stand with the people.”

To that end, Boehner said the House would not vote to increase the debt limit unless it was accompanied by a deal that included: 1) no tax hikes, 2) spending cuts “that exceed the amount of the debt limit hike,” and 3) budget reforms “that will restrict Washington’s ability to spend in the future.”

“These are the realities of the situation,” he said. “If the president and his allies want the debt limit increased, it is only going to happen via a measure that meets these tests.”

Boehner said the president was welcome to put forward a proposal that fails to meet these requirements, and gave his word that he would allow a vote in the House, but added:  “[A] measure that fails to meet these tests cannot pass the House.” 

If President Obama wants a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Boehner said, it is up to the president to get it done. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to do something big for our economy and our country,” he said. “With presidential leadership, we can seize this moment and deliver something important for the people we serve.”

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 ...


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