Speaker Boehner: Washington Has a Spending Problem that Can't Be Fixed with Tax Hikes

Statement

By:  John Boehner
Date: Dec. 13, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

At his weekly press conference today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) underscored the need for serious spending cuts to avert the fiscal cliff, begin addressing our staggering debt, and support economic growth. Speaker Boehner highlighted a new chart by the House Budget Committee showing that America has a spending problem -- not a revenue problem -- that can only be addressed by cutting spending, not raising tax rates on small businesses. Following are Speaker Boehner's remarks:

On the President's Failure to Offer a Balanced Approach to Avert the Fiscal Cliff:

"You know, more than five weeks ago, Republicans signaled our willingness to avert the fiscal cliff with a bipartisan agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem. The president still has not made an offer that meets those two standards. But Republicans have.

"While the president promised the American people a balanced approach, his proposals have been anything but. He wants far more in tax hikes than in spending cuts. And instead of beginning to solve our debt problem, he wants new "stimulus' spending and the ability to raise the debt limit whenever he wants, without any cuts or reforms."

On the Need for Serious Spending Cuts to Resolve the Fiscal Cliff, Begin Addressing Our Debt & Pave the Way for Economic Growth:

"Now it's clear the president's just not serious about cutting spending. But spending is the problem.

"How big a problem? Look at this chart put together by Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee. This line is the current baseline for revenue. Here, if the president got everything he wanted -- over $1.4 trillion in taxes -- this is what that would represent. But if you look at the spending problem, you see it does nothing -- nothing to solve the spending problem that our country has.

"Listen, Republicans want to solve this problem by getting this spending line down. The president wants to pretend that spending isn't the problem. That's why we don't have an agreement.

"The chart depicts what I've been saying for a long time now: Washington has a spending problem that can't be fixed with tax increases alone. The right answer is to start cutting spending, addressing our debt, and paving the way for long-term economic growth."

On the White House Slow-Walking a Solution to the Fiscal Cliff:

"Unfortunately, the White House is so unserious about cutting spending that it appears willing to slow-walk any agreement and walk our economy right up to the fiscal cliff. Doing that puts jobs in our country in danger, it jeopardizes a golden opportunity to make 2013 the year that we enact fundamental tax reform and entitlement reform to begin to solve our country's debt problem and, frankly, revenue problem.

"As you can see from this chart, real revenue growth is critically important as long as real cuts in spending if we're going to resolve our long-term fiscal problem."

On the Need for the President to Work with Republicans on a Balanced Approach to Avert the Fiscal Cliff with Serious Spending Cuts:

"As I said five weeks ago, the election wasn't a mandate to raise tax rates on small businesses. It was a mandate for both parties to work together to take on the big challenges that our country is facing. Republicans are ready and eager to do just that. We made a reasonable offer, it's now up to the White House to show us how they're going to cut spending and give us the balanced agreement that the president has talked about for weeks.

"If the president will step up and show us he's willing to make the spending cuts that are needed I think we can do some real good in the days ahead. If not -- he wants to keep chasing higher spending with higher taxes -- this chart's going to look a whole lot worse. And our kids and our grandkids are the ones who are going to suffer because Washington was too short-sighted to fix the problem."