House Speaker John A. Boehner will issue a warning Tuesday to President Obama a day before the president is set to deliver a major speech on the nation’s deficit: Raising taxes is “unacceptable and a nonstarter.”
Mr. Boehner plans to issue the warning in a statement Tuesday afternoon, according to a copy of the statement The Caucus obtained. In it, Mr. Boehner says Republicans are “open to hearing” proposals from Mr. Obama about dealing with Medicare and other entitlements that reduce the nation’s long-term debt.
But he says a proposal by the president that includes tax increases will be treated as evidence that the president is not serious about dealing with the country’s long-term fiscal health.
“We don’t have deficits because Americans are taxed too little, we have deficits because Washington spends too much,” Mr. Boehner says in the statement. “And, at a time when the American people face skyrocketing prices at the pump, energy tax hikes are a particularly bad idea.”
Mr. Boehner’s statement arrives just hours after Mr. Obama invited the Speaker and other Congressional leaders to a pre-speech discussion at the White House Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s top aides have said the president plans to engage the topic of entitlement reform directly but also will suggest that part of the solution should include an end to the George Bush era tax cuts.
“The president’s goal, and he’s been clear about this — is to protect the middle class as we move forward here,” David Plouffe, the president’s senior adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “So people like him, as he’ll say, who have been very fortunate in life, have the ability to pay a little bit more. Now, under the Republican congressional plan, people over $250,000 get over $1 trillion in tax relief. So this is the important thing — you’re making a choice.”
Mr. Obama plans to give his speech Wednesday afternoon at The George Washington University, using the backdrop of the academic institution for a speech his aides say will help set the direction of the economic debate for the months to come.
In his statement, Mr. Boehner takes aim at the president’s previous budget proposal, saying that it would “impose a job-crushing $1.5 trillion tax hike, add $9.1 trillion to the debt over the next decade, and do nothing to address our autopilot spending.”