Earlier today President Obama made a public plea for Republicans to embrace either a long-term or short-term “balanced approach” to avoid the sequestration cuts. Speaker Boehner’s response made it clear the House Republicans are not interested in any possible compromise. From Boehner:
“Today the president advanced an argument Republicans have been making for a year: his sequester is the wrong way to cut spending. That’s why the House has twice passed legislation to replace it with common sense cuts and reforms that won’t threaten public safety, national security, or our economy. But once again, the president offered no credible plan that can pass Congress – only more calls for higher taxes. Just last month, the president got his higher taxes on the wealthy, and he’s already back for more. The American people understand that the revenue debate is now closed. We should close loopholes and carve-outs in the tax code, but that revenue should be used to lower rates across the board. Tax reform is a once-in-a generation opportunity to boost job creation in America. It should not be squandered to enable more Washington spending. Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus.
“Washington Democrats’ newfound concern about the president’s sequester is appreciated, but words alone won’t avert it. Replacing the president’s sequester will require a plan to cut spending that will put us on the path to a budget that is balanced in 10 years. To keep these first responders on the job, what other spending is the president willing to cut?”
Obama believes he could get Republicans to agree to more “revenue” by having all the money come from closing tax loopholes instead of changes in tax rates, but Boehner is closing the door on that possibility. There will be no balanced approach that Republicans will accept. Any additional revenue, regardless how Democrats try to spin it, will be labeled a tax increase by the House Republicans.
In addition, the only thing Boehner proposed to replace the sequester with is other cuts that would put us on a path to a balanced budget in 10 years. That is a nearly impossible goal to achieve using only spending cuts and would effectively require dramatically larger cuts than the sequester. Boehner’s proposed alternative to the sequester is basically something even worse than the sequester.
This is not the kind of statement you use to start serious negotiations, it is the the kind used to shut it down. Get ready for the sequester to happen.
Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license