WASHINGTON, DC – At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed President Obama’s failure to put forth a serious budget proposal that addresses Washington’s spending problem. Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to abandon his take-it-or-leave-it approach and work with Republicans to find common ground on reforms that are needed to help the economy grow and create jobs, and shore up critical entitlement programs. Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks:
On the President’s Budget: It’s “Not a ‘Compromise,’ – It’s a Step Backwards”:
“The president released his budget yesterday, and the way he’s been talking recently, I was hopeful. But as we’ve seen many times now, hope has again become disappointment.
“The president calls this his compromise budget. But his bottom line is this: my way or the highway. And if that’s the case, I’m not very optimistic.
“Listen, the president and I weren’t able to reach an agreement last year because every offer he made was skewed in favor of higher taxes. This plan is no exception.
“His ‘opening offer’ last year – last fall was $1.6 trillion in new revenues. His ‘final offer’ was $1.3 trillion. This budget would mean a total of $1.7 trillion in new revenues. That’s not a ‘compromise’ – it’s a step backwards.”
On the President’s Failure to Offer a Serious Plan to Address the Spending Problem in Washington:
“And you can’t portray a budget as a compromise when it ignores the spending problem here in Washington. House and Senate Budget Committees have looked at the numbers and found that this plan only reduces the deficit by around $100 billion over the next 10 years. It’s just not serious.
“Rather than cutting spending, this plan increases it by nearly a trillion dollars. And I’ll repeat: it increases spending by $964 billion over current law. Again, I don’t think that’s a serious effort at addressing Washington’s spending problem.
“The president’s budget calls for more than a trillion dollars in new tax revenue – beyond the tax hike that the president got at the beginning of the year. Again, it’s not serious and it’ll cost our economy more jobs.
“Worst of all, this budget never balances. Never, ever, ever comes to balance. We’ve spent more money than we’ve taken in for 55 of the last 60 years. No business in America can survive like that, no household in America can survive like that, and our government can’t survive if we continue to spend money we don’t have. Now all this budget does is preserve the status quo. It’s time to look at the cost drivers and to stop the spending here in Washington.”
On the Need for President Obama to Seek Common Ground with Republicans on Much-Needed Reforms:
“Now, I am encouraged that the president acknowledged that our safety net programs are unsustainable, but only offered some modest reforms.
“They are modest. It’s nothing close to what we need in order to preserve these programs and to put ourselves on a path to balance the budget. And still it’s a step back from what he’d agreed to over a year and a half ago. So, there’s no reason we can’t make incremental progress where we can agree.
“And that’s why the president’s take-it-or-leave-it approach is disappointing. It was the president himself who said 'When Democrats and Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done...Let's…agree to do what we all agree' upon. Those are the president’s words. Now he wants to hold these modest reforms hostage for just another round of tax increases.
“It’s no way to compromise. It’s no way to move the country forward. And frankly it’s no way to lead.”