House Speaker Says Raising Taxes to Reduce Debt Isn’t an Option

Boehner also warned the president against deficit-reducing “gimmicks.”

Posted: 09/16/2011 11:21 AM EDT
John Boehner

One week after President Obama unveiled his $447 billion jobs package, House Speaker John Boehner called on Washington to “liberate” the economy from the “shackles” of excessive regulation, deficit spending and anti-growth tax policies.

 

In his address to the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner rejected the idea of raising revenues to reduce the deficit through tax increases and said that he expects the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or super committee, to cut spending and enact entitlement reforms.

 

“When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform,” Boehner said, adding that tax increases “are not a viable option.”

 

According to Boehner, that includes not allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire. He said that tax increases destroy jobs and that the super committee’s job should not be made more difficult by asking it to raise taxes. President Obama is scheduled to make recommendations to the committee next week. Boehner in his speech warned the president against using “gimmicks” to lower the deficit.

 

Although he didn’t focus on specific aspects of the president’s American Jobs Act, the speaker did suggest that there could be some measures on which the two parties can compromise, such as closing tax loopholes and some infrastructure spending.

 

“The House will consider them, as the American people expect. Some of the president’s proposals offer an opportunity for common ground,” he said. “But let’s be honest with ourselves. The president’s proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America.”

 

Boehner charged that those policies have caused the nation’s job creators to go “on strike.” His speech helps set the stage for the upcoming debates over Obama’s jobs plan. He does not, however, want a repeat of the contentious battle that took place during the summer’s debt-ceiling negotiations, and called on members of both parties to stop the “name calling, the yelling and the questioning of others’ motives.”

 

During a question-and-answer period, Boehner said that he and Obama have a “good relationship” but they view things very differently.

 

“Sometimes the conversations we have, it’s like two different people from two different planets. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way,” he said.

 (Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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