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Deficit reduction talks suffered a setback Monday. Republicans rejected President Barack Obama’s demand for new revenues in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.In a press conference, Speaker of the House John Boehner criticised Obama for trying to raise taxes during a recession, saying “the president and I do not agree on his view that the government needs higher taxes.”
“Most Americans would say a balance approach is the administration gets their debt ceiling increase, and the American people get their spending cuts,” Boehner said, borrowing Obama’s condition for a deal.
“The American people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs,” he said. “As Sen Rubio said last week, we don’t need more (taxes), we need more taxpayers.”
Boehner said he and his caucus would consider closing tax loopholes only if Democrats agree to “significant entitlement reform.” “None of us are fond of loopholes,” he added.
He also pushed back at news reports that he had agreed to tax increases in his private meetings with Obama. “There has never been an agreement on tax hikes and never on the table in any meeting at the White House,” he said. “Not once.”
“I would agree with the president that the national debt limit must be raised, but the American people will not accept, and the House cannot pass a job-killing tax hike,” he said. “We cannot allow our nation to default on our debt… But a bill that does not meet these tests cannot pass the House of Representatives.”
Boehner said Obama is “not serious about fundamental entitlement reform.”
His statements came hours after Obama praised Boehner for his leadership on negotiating an agreement.
“I think Speaker Boehner has been sincere in trying to do something big,” he said. Adding “he’s a good man.”
Responding to Obama’s call for shared sacrifice in a deal, Boehner said, “I understand that this is going to take sacrifice and political will on both sides and I’m willing to give my fair share of it.”
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