At his weekly press conference today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on Democrats to outline their plan for serious spending cuts that are needed as part of any truly "balanced" plan to avert the fiscal cliff and help get the economy moving again. As Speaker Boehner noted, Republicans have put forth a balanced plan that includes significant spending cuts and entitlement reforms to protect American families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff, and it is incumbent upon President Obama and Democrats to do the same. Following are Speaker Boehner's remarks:
On Democrats' Unwillingness to Get Serious About Spending Cuts to Avert the Fiscal Cliff:
"Good morning. You know the president has warned about the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff, but his actions have not matched his public statements. Members of his own party seem quite comfortable with sending the economy over the fiscal cliff.
"Two weeks ago we had a very productive conversation at the White House. Based on where we stand today, I would say two things: First, despite claims that the president supports a "balanced' approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts. And secondly, no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks."
On the Need for Democrats to Offer a Plan for Serious Spending Cuts to Achieve the "Balanced' Approach the President Has Called For:
"Listen, this is not a game. Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line. And this is a moment for adult leadership. Campaign-style rallies and one-sided leaks in the press are not the way to get things done here in Washington.
"The Majority Leader and I just had a meeting with the Treasury Secretary. It was frank and it was direct. I was hopeful we'd see a specific plan for cutting spending. We sought to find out today what the president really is willing to do. Listen, I remain hopeful that productive conversations can be had in the days ahead, but the White House has to get serious.
"Yesterday, our leadership team met with Erskine Bowles and business leaders about averting the fiscal cliff and achieving the "balanced' approach the White House says it wants. And I've made clear that we've put real concessions on the line by putting revenues on the table right up front. Unfortunately, many Democrats continue to rule out sensible spending cuts that must be part of any significant agreement that will reduce our deficit. And Mr. Bowles himself said yesterday there's been no serious discussion of spending cuts so far -- and unless there is, there's a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff."
On Republicans' Balanced Framework to Resolve the Fiscal Cliff with Serious Spending Cuts & Entitlement Reforms:
"Listen, going off the fiscal cliff will hurt our economy and it will cost American jobs. Republicans have taken action to avert the fiscal cliff by passing legislation to stop all the tax hikes, to replace the sequester, and pave the way for tax reform and entitlement reform. And we're the only ones with a balanced plan to protect the economy, protect American jobs, and protect the middle class from the fiscal cliff.
"But without spending cuts and entitlement reform, it's going to be impossible to address our country's debt crisis, and get our economy going again, and to create jobs."
On the Need for Presidential Leadership:
"So right now, all eyes are on the White House. The country doesn't need a victory lap -- it needs leadership. It's time for the president and congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they're really willing to make."