Today, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) reaffirmed the House Republican position in the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations. Delivering remarks following a meeting with Treasury Secretary Geithner, he made it very clear the Obama administration has yet to put forth a specific plan for spending cuts and entitlement reforms as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Any balanced plan to avert the devastating effects of the fiscal cliff early next year must include significant cuts in spending and substantive entitlement reform, and House Republicans remain the only ones in Washington who have put forth a plan which includes both. Below is a sampling of news coverage of Speaker Boehner’s reaffirmation of House Republicans’ commitment to averting the fiscal cliff.
REUTERS: House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said there was no progress on Thursday in "fiscal cliff" talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and criticized President Barack Obama and Democrats for failing to "get serious" about including spending cuts in a final deal. Geithner, Obama's chief negotiator in talks to avert the "fiscal cliff," held a round of meetings with congressional leaders on Thursday but the sessions appeared to move the two sides no closer to a deal to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts to be triggered on January 1 without an act of Congress. "Based on where we stand today I would say two things. First, despite the claims that the president supports a balanced approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts," Boehner, of Ohio, said after the private session with Geithner. "And secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks," he said. (Reuters, “Boehner sees no fiscal cliff progress after Geithner meeting,” 11/29/12)
THE HILL: Boehner, addressing reporters after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in the Capitol, called on the White House to “get serious” about the talks and warned of a “real danger” that Jan. 1 would come without a deal if President Obama did not offer up specific spending cuts he would be willing to accept… “Listen, this is not a game,” he added. “Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line, and this is a moment for adult leadership.” The Speaker criticized the president for holding “campaign-style rallies” instead of engaging in serious talks. (The Hill, “'Disapppointed' Boehner calls on Obama to get serious on spending,” 11/29/12)
ASSOCIATED PRESS: "I was hopeful we'd see a specific plan for cutting spending and we sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do," Boehner said…The speaker has said that Republicans are willing to endorse higher tax revenues as part of any deal to prevent across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at year's end, but only as part of a deal that includes savings from Medicare and other government benefit programs. Boehner spoke by phone with Obama on Wednesday night, and said his remarks Thursday were the result of that conversation, as well as the session with Geithner. (Associated Press, “White House, Congress Talk as ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Nears,” 11/29/12)
POLITICO: “Listen, this is not a game,” Boehner said…“Campaign style rallies and one-sided leaks in the press are not the way to get things done here in Washington.” Republicans are insisting on significant reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, deep spending cuts and not raising tax rates for the wealthy. Democrats say their bottom line is simple: taxes on high-income earners must go up. “Right now, all eyes are on the White House,” the speaker said…“I’m going to do everything I can to avoid putting the American economy, the American people, through the fiasco of going over the fiscal cliff,” he said. (POLITICO, “Fiscal cliff talks at standstill amid sparring,” 11/29/12)
WASHINGTON POST: “The White House has to get serious,” he told reporters, adding, “We have no idea what the White House has been willing to do.” Boehner called the meeting and phone call “frank and direct” but added that “no substantive progress has been made” to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect Jan. 1…[Boehner] said he told Obama that he was firm that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched by equivalent cuts in spending. “There are a lot of things I’ve wanted in my life,” Boehner said he told Obama, “but almost all of them have had a price tag attached to them.” (Washington Post, “Boehner: ‘No substantial progress’ on ‘fiscal cliff’ after Geithner meeting,” 11/29/12)
ROLL CALL: Boehner said Geithner and Nabors offered no specifics about spending and entitlement cuts during their meeting with him and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. The speaker said that leads him to believe the administration is not serious about reaching a balanced deal to allay the pending $500 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to kick in next year…Boehner said he had a “very direct” phone conversation with Obama on Wednesday night, but said neither that nor Thursday’s “frank” meeting in the Capitol with Geithner and Nabors moved the needle. (Roll Call, “Bad Day for Fiscal Cliff Talks,” 11/29/12)
BLOOMBERG: Obama and Boehner said yesterday they were eager to reach a compromise before the end of the year, without publicly offering concessions. Boehner described their telephone conversation last night as “direct and straightforward.” While Boehner dismissed any notion that talks between him and the White House have broken down, he said, “I am disappointed in where we are. I am disappointed in what’s happened over the last couple of weeks.” “Without spending cuts and entitlement reform it is going to be impossible to address the country’s debt crisis and get our economy going again,” Boehner said at the press conference. (Bloomberg, “Boehner Urges Obama to ‘Get Serious’ About Cliff Talks,” 11/29/12)
Shortly after Speaker Boehner’s remarks, House Republican Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) reiterated House Republicans’ position in an appearance on Fox News:
REP. JENKINS: “I think the Republicans in the House are going to do everything they can to avert this fiscal crisis that we're staring down, and we have proposed a balanced approach – one that puts revenues on the table, but also addresses the real problem in Washington, and that's the out-of-control spending…The American people are willing to put revenues into the federal government if they had some confidence that the lawmakers were spending it properly. But we all know that there is a lot of waste, fraud and abuse that we have to address. Our autopilot spending programs, first and foremost the Medicare program, and until the Democrats can come forward and be willing to put some of the spending cuts on the table, it's going to be very difficult to move forward.”