Boehner Puts Obama on Notice

Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:24am

A day after bipartisan debt limit talks collapsed, the White House announced President Barack Obama will meet with Senate leaders to discuss the issue, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned again that no tax increases can pass the House.

Obama will meet separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday, the White House said.

Boehner, meanwhile, issued a statement setting out markers for getting a deal to raise the debt limit.

“The president and his party may want a debt limit increase that includes tax hikes, but such a proposal cannot pass the House,” Boehner said.

He also reiterated that any cut in spending must exceed any increase in the debt limit and there must be reforms that restrict future spending. “These are the realities of the situation. If the president and his allies want the debt limit increased, it is only going to happen via a measure that meets these tests. If the president puts forth such a proposal, he has my word that the House will act on it. But a measure that fails to meet these tests cannot pass the House.”

McConnell also said tax hikes cannot be part of a deal.

“What Republicans want is simple: We want to cut spending now, we want to cap runaway spending in the future and we want to save our entitlements and our country from bankruptcy,” McConnell said in a Friday statement. “Sadly, the Democrats’ response has been a mystifying call for more stimulus spending and huge tax hikes on American job creators. That’s not serious, and it is my hope that the President will take those off the table on Monday so that we can have a serious discussion about our country’s economic future.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned the debt ceiling must be increased by Aug. 2 or the U.S. will default on its obligations.

Democrats, however, took House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to task Friday for the Republicans’ decision Thursday to drop out of debt limit talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden.

In a conference call Friday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed Cantor’s decision to pull out of the talks, arguing that “the rug was pulled out from under the discussions yesterday” by Cantor’s move.

“Republicans seem willing to tank the economy to protect tax breaks for millionaires,” Schumer added.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who had participated in the talks, agreed. “The simple message Republicans sent yesterday … was unless we take their lopsided approach to reducing the deficit they’re prepared to tank the economy and put millions of Americans’ jobs at risk,” Van Hollen said.