Monday, July 11, 2011

Boehner Remarks on Ongoing Debt Limit Discussions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a press conference previewing today’s meeting at the White House regarding the president’s request to raise the debt limit, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) delivered the following remarks:

“I appreciate what the president said today about the need for us to come together and get this done. Our disagreements are not personal. They never have been. The gulf between the two parties right now is about policy. It’s not about process, and it’s not about personalities.

“The president and I agree that the current levels of spending, including entitlement spending, are unsustainable. The president and I do not agree on his view that government needs more revenues through higher taxes on job creators. The president and I also disagree on the extent of the entitlement problem, and what is necessary in order to solve it.

“Most Americans would say that a ‘balanced’ approach is a simple one: the administration gets its debt limit increase, and the American people get their spending cuts and their reforms. And adding tax increases to the equation doesn’t ‘balance’ anything.

“The American people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs. And the last thing we should be doing right now, at a time of 9.2 percent unemployment, is enacting more government policies that will destroy jobs.

“What the American people want is for us to work together to remove government barriers that are getting in the way of job creation and real economic growth. Two of the biggest obstacles to job growth that we face are out-of-control entitlement spending, and the current tax code. And I think the fundamental questions are this:

“Can you control government spending without fundamentally reforming entitlements? I think the answer is no.

“Do you need to raise taxes in order to get control of spending? I think the answer is no.

“If you want to see an increase in government revenues, then let’s grow the economy and create jobs, broaden the tax base and lower rates. As Senator Rubio said last week, we don’t need more taxes; what we need are more taxpayers.

“So our disagreement with the president is not about closing loopholes. None of us are fond of loopholes. Our disagreement is over the idea of raising taxes on the very people that we’re asking to create jobs in our country.

“I agree with the president that the national debt limit must be raised, and I’m glad that he made the case for it today. But the American people will not accept – and the House cannot pass – a bill that raises taxes on job creators.

“The House can only pass a debt limit bill that includes spending cuts larger than the hike in the debt limit, as well as real restraints on future spending. My colleagues and I believe we should enact a Balanced Budget Amendment to keep the federal government from spending us into this same situation again. I think we also need real reductions in spending right now, and spending caps to ensure that any progress that we make is not undone in the future.

“Listen, I agree with the president we cannot allow our nation to default on our debt. But to prevent a default, a bill must pass the Congress. And a bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives.

“This is the message we will take, again, to the White House today, and hope that we can work our way through this.”