Boehner urges active Obama role in deficit talks

WASHINGTON Fri Jun 3, 2011 1:03pm EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) leaves after speaking at the Faith & Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing in Washington, June 3, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) leaves after speaking at the Faith & Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing in Washington, June 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seizing on an increase in the jobless rate, top Republicans on Friday urged President Barack Obama to get more involved in efforts to reduce the deficit which they blame for the sputtering economy.

"One look at the jobs report should show the White House it's time to get serious about cutting spending and dealing with our ailing economy," House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said after Labor Department data showed employment growth slowed sharply in May and the jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent.

Boehner said Obama needed to take a more active role in deficit-reduction talks if he hopes for agreement between Republicans and Democrats by the end of June.

"I think there's a lot of progress that's been made in the Biden talks," Boehner said of negotiations being overseen at the White House by Vice President Joe Biden.

"He (Obama) could take a more active role. He's had this hands off approach for the last several months while this conversation has raged on," Boehner added. "If he wants this agreement done by the end of the month, better get going."

Boehner was speaking at a House news conference attended by other Republican lawmakers including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who said the Biden talks had produced movement toward "coalescing around trillions of dollars in cuts."

But Cantor said the White House needed more "will" to agree on Republican positions including that tax increases be excluded from deficit-reduction options.

The Biden talks have been stuck, with Republicans refusing to consider tax increases as part of the deal while Democrats oppose Republican proposals to scale back the government-run Medicare healthcare program for future retirees.

The deficit-reduction talks, which include a bipartisan group of six members of the House and Senate, will resume on June 9.

The poor jobs numbers come a day after Moody's rating agency warned that risk of a "continuing stalemate" between the Republicans and Democrats had grown. The rating agency urged progress on deficit reduction soon, before politics takes over in the run-up to the November 2012 presidential election.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles and Donna Smith; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (8)
ginchinchili wrote:
Boehner is such a corrupt, dishonest, buffoon. Obama met just yesterday with House Republicans who, like spoiled children, were rolling their eyes when he brought up revenue increases. Why? If they are really serious about deficit reduction, why won’t they even consider raising taxes? What they are proposing with Medicare amounts to a tax increase on our seniors. Why is that okay, but it’s not okay to raise taxes on the wealthy? Why are the Republicans willing to force the US into default, costing us billions in additional interest payments and the US’s triple A credit rating, but not raise taxes on the wealthy? A majority of the country is saying to raise taxes on the wealthy. Where is the Republican leadership? Boehner needs to step aside and let someone who can lead lead.

Jun 03, 2011 10:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ginchinchili wrote:
Boehner is such a corrupt, dishonest, buffoon. Obama met just yesterday with House Republicans who, like spoiled children, were rolling their eyes when he brought up revenue increases. Why? If they are really serious about deficit reduction, why won’t they even consider raising taxes? What they are proposing with Medicare amounts to a tax increase on our seniors. Why is that okay, but it’s not okay to raise taxes on the wealthy? Why are the Republicans willing to force the US into default, costing us billions in additional interest payments and the US’s triple A credit rating, but not raise taxes on the wealthy? A majority of the country is saying to raise taxes on the wealthy. Where is the Republican leadership? Boehner needs to step aside and let someone who can lead lead.

Jun 03, 2011 10:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
michs28 wrote:
Boehner, is still espousing the typical Republican rhetoric, that being cut spending, but don’t raise taxes. He doesn’t seem to realize the concept of negotiating, that being give and take from both parties. Yes, we need to cut the budget and Yes we need to raise taxes. The concept is really quite simple. OH, and the two wars that we are in (well, three if you count Libya), why are we still in them? Why are we spending billions of taxpayers dollars to fight wars in countries where the local populace doesn’t like us. What are we gaining from these wars? Security? Right! Cut the budget! Raise taxes on your wealthy friends. Bring our young men and women home!

Jun 03, 2011 12:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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