Big U.S. deficit-reduction bill needed: Boehner

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:07am EST

Speaker of the House John Boehner talks during a news conference to discuss the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Plan on Capitol Hill in Washington November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaker of the House John Boehner talks during a news conference to discuss the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Plan on Capitol Hill in Washington November 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday that one of his top wishes for the new year is to help win passage of a bill to cut the record - and still mounting - U.S. debt.

Having tried and failed to do so this year despite efforts that included face-to-face talks with President Barack Obama, Boehner said he wants to give it another shot.

At a forum hosted by the Politico newspaper, Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, was asked what he would like to pursue during his second year as House Speaker.

"If I had my wish list ... I'd like to pass a large debt-reduction bill," Boehner said. "Our debt hangs over the economy and hangs over the American people like a wet blanket."

Obama and congressional Republicans fought all year over how best to tame a federal debt that recently topped $15 trillion while also spurring economic growth.

Last July, Boehner huddled at the White House with Obama over a potential $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal. But those talks ultimately broke down over disagreements on revenue increases and squeezing savings out of popular government healthcare and retirement programs.

Boehner's and Obama's 'Grand Bargain' deal would have included at least $800 billion in new revenues. But the Republican leader walked away from it after House conservatives in his party balked. He then blamed Obama, saying the president refused to go along with reforming the big benefit programs to save money.

Asked how he would advance a deficit-reduction deal next year, Boehner did not change the demands Republicans have made this year: reforming Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for the elderly and poor and the Social Security retirement plan.

He did not signal any willingness to also consider tax increases on the wealthy, which Democrats have demanded.

Looking back at 2011, Boehner told Politico: "My biggest regret of the year was the president and I were unable to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit and taking a serious bite out of our debt."

(Reporting By Richard Cowan)

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Comments (5)
So there was a 4 trillion dollar deal, where the Republicans were offering less than 1/4 of the amount in new taxes as a concession, while the Democrats were conceding 3/4 of the amount in cutting programs. Then when the Republicans said they would only be willing to offer 0/4 of the amount, they blamed Obama for not playing ball?

I hope these liars get voted out as soon as possible. The Democrats have bent and bent, and the Republicans just keep yelling “BEND!”

Dec 14, 2011 3:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jcfl wrote:
the gop has only two agendas – both spoken in private only:
1. eliminate taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.
2. eliminate all public programs.
nothing else matters. all else they say is just lip service, smoke and mirrors. what the rest of us propose is to return to tax rates they have already paid, before 1980, and between 1994 and 2000. that is not an increase, just giving back the lucrative breaks given by reagan and bush2. they were wealthy then they will still be wealthy. America is not an oligarchy yet and i trust that the 99% will understand it cannot become one, and that their votes will always outnumber the gop. but we have to vote! they have at most 25% of the population that swallow everything the gop, fox, & the radio bobbleheads say.
abortion? didn’t the gop have all four branches of govt in total control for 6 years? why then was nothing done about roe v wade, or for that matter a balanced budget, deficit control, social security, medicaire, medicaid, healthcare? for the answer see #1&2 above. smoke and mirrors – wake up before they ruin this country – they came much too close the last time they were in control.

Dec 14, 2011 4:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
fromthecenter wrote:
This guy must be from a very wealthy district, how else can you explain him getting voted in time and time again.

Dec 15, 2011 12:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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