Raising Taxes 'Wrong Approach,' Boehner Says After Obama Again Calls for 'Balance'

August 9, 2011 - 6:25 AM

Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks to a closed-door GOP caucus to work on averting a default on Wednesday, July 27, 2011, on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) insisted again on Monday that raising taxes is the "wrong approach" for an economy in turmoil.

Boehner spoke after President Obama told the nation that he doesn't need a credit agency to tell him that "we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction." "Balanced," in Obama's lexicon, means that wealthy Americans -- a category that includes some small businesses -- should pay higher taxes.

“I agree with the President that we did not need a ratings agency to tell us America is facing a debt crisis," Boehner said. The speaker blamed uncontrolled spending by both parties for creating economic uncertainty that is destroying jobs.

"And just as both parties contributed to our unsustainable debt, both parties must work now to cut spending. Republicans have demonstrated this problem can be solved without job-destroying tax hikes," the speaker said.

Boehner noted that House Republicans have passed a budget that would spend $6.2 trillion less than President Obama’s proposal, and they've also passed a "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan to curtail spending. Neither bill made it through the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Boehner also described the recent deficit reduction/debt ceiling legislation as "a meaningful down payment on deficit reduction," although conservatives say the deficit reduction isn't deep enough and doesn't happen soon enough.

Boehner admitted that "difficult work remains," and he mentioned that it will be up to 12 members of a bipartisan, joint select congressional committee to make "tough choices" about curtailing "the mandatory and entitlement spending that is driving our long-term debt."

Boehner called it "welcome news" that President Obama will "contribute to this process" by saying which specific reforms he supports.

Obama on Monday acknowleged "skepticism" that the joint select committee will be able to reach a compromise. "I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed," the president said, adding that the super committee will have his full cooperation.

On Monday, White House reporters pressed Obama's spokesman about when and how the president will present his own recommendations. "I don’t have a date for you," spokesman Jay Carney said. "I don't have a method for you," he added.

Reporters also asked Carney why President Obama doesn't call Congress back to work right now. Here's the exchange that followed:

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think that what we can do, after the process we just went through, is make clear that when Congress does get back from its recess, it is very clear --

Q That doesn’t sound very urgent.

MR. CARNEY: Well --

Q I mean, the Dow dropped below 11,000. Where’s the sense of urgency?

MR. CARNEY: Look, I think there is a great deal of sense -- a great sense of urgency here about the need to continue to work to get our fiscal house in order, create jobs and grow the economy. The reality that we live in is that this is -- as set up by the founders -- is a government that has different branches with different amounts of power, and we need to work together to get significant things done, and we’ll continue to do that....

Carney took several other questions on "urgency" and why the president isn't pressing Congress to return from its recess.

One reporter asked Carney why the president waited three days to days to comment on the S&P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. "I don’t think most people over the weekend were wondering where the President stood or where the administration stood on this," Carney replied.

Another reporter asked Carney, "What does the President believe his role has to be in a moment like this where there seems to be a little bit of a panic on Wall Street? People are watching it. They’re unsure. They’re not sure what’s going on. What does the President believe his role is supposed to be on a day like this?"

Carney said Obama's role is to "make clear that the United States remains the most powerful economy, the most creative economy with the strongest and best-educated workforce in the world with the most enormous potential still going forward in the world..."

Carney also said the president's job is to make clear "that we need to come together. " Carney said "the great American middle" is demanding cooperation and compromise.

When Congress does return from its recess, Boehner said House Republicans will remain focused on providing economic certainty and creating an environment in which businesses can thrive. "That’s why raising taxes is simply the wrong approach," he said. "I look forward to working with leaders of both parties to reduce spending, boost confidence, and give American small businesses the stability they need to create jobs.”