That's the position to which Boehner and House Republicanseventually held Democrats to raise the debt ceiling last August. Of course, that trip to the fiscal precipice sent Congress'sapproval rating plummeting into the single digits, crushed consumereconomic confidence, and helped spur an unprecedented downgrade inAmerica's credit rating. Democrats have called for an approach that uses both increasedtaxes and lower government spending to cut the government's debt. Boehner's principle "is a simplistic characterization of theissue that confronts us," said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland , the House minority whip, in a talk with reporters Tuesday."The Democrats are clearly going to look at and press for abalanced response. |
The debt limit should not be a political issue.Mr. Boehner knows it shouldn't be political." Congress is putting off nearly every substantive policy issue untilafter the November elections. In addition to the debt ceiling, theheavy issues awaiting Congress between Election Day and the end of year include the Bush tax cuts, unemploymentbenefits, the budget-slashing "sequester," and Medicare payment rates for doctors. On taxes, however, the House will move to lay the groundwork for adeal well before the lame-duck session, Boehner says.
The Housewill vote on taxes before the election to "give Congress timeto work on broad-based tax reform that lowers rates for individualsand businesses while closing deductions, credits, and specialcarveouts," according to excerpts of Boehner's speech. The House legislation would also enable an "expeditedprocess" for tax reform in 2013. This could mean, Boehnersays, that "if we do this right, this will be the last time weever have to confront the uncertainty of expiring tax rates."He continues in the prepared remarks, "We ll have replacedthe broken status quo with a tax code that maintains progressivity,taxes income once, and creates a fairer, simpler code." But Boehner doesn't rule out nudging the government along withincremental debt-ceiling deals. "If [adhering to the Boehner principle] means we have to do aseries of stopgap measures, so be it but that s not theideal," Boehner will say Tuesday. "Let s start solvingthe problem.
We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary tomeet this principle, and we must." The Boehner principle does not, on its face, rule out tax hikes orother increased revenues to help address the fiscal issues. A mixof tax increases and spending cuts have been offered by a varietyof fiscal-reform commissions, including the widely hailedSimpson-Bowles group. But a Boehner aide says in an e-mail, "Tax hikes are not and never have been on the table.".
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