Boehner on Avoiding Fiscal Cliff: Obama ‘Absent Without Leave’

By Jon Street | September 11, 2012 | 3:18 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (AP Photo)

( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he is “not confident at all” that the U.S. can avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” because President Obama has been “absent without leave.”

During a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, a reporter asked Boehner, “You and your colleagues have talked a lot about avoiding the fiscal cliff and what you’ve done, but there haven’t been any serious bipartisan negotiations at all, and today Moody’s is saying it will downgrade the credit rating if there’s not a deal. How confident are you that we can avoid that cliff”?

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Boehner responded: “Well, I’m not confident at all. Listen, the House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs. The Senate, at some point, has to act. And on both of these, where’s the president? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leave.”

Earlier Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Moody’s, the international creditworthiness oversight company, said that if negotiations by the House, Senate, and Obama administration do not enact policies that will stabilize the national debt-to-GDP ratio and put the country on track to decrease that ratio before the end of 2012, Moody’s would “expect to lower the [U.S. credit] rating, probably to Aa1,” which would be the second downgrade of the U.S. credit rating since Obama became president.