If considering revenue increases leads to a big 2012 budget deal for Republicans then so be it, Speaker John Boehner told me.
“I’ll put everything on the table. I think Washington has a spending problem. I don’t think it has a revenue problem. I’m not interested in raising taxes on the American people. But if it takes leaving it on the table to have the conversation, I’ll have the conversation,” he told me.
“Paul Ryan did a marvelous job in outlining how we can reform this government. How we can put it on a path to prosperity. And I’m proud of the work that he did,” Boehner said.
Proud of all the work, including replacing Medicare? Republicans ran ads against the President’s health care plan saying it would cut $500 billion from Medicare.
“If you look at what Paul Ryan’s doing we’re talking about transforming Medicare and making sure that it exists. You know what the greatest single threat to Medicare is? Doing nothing. Doing nothing is the greatest threat to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” he said.
“We make clear that no senior and no one 55 or older will be affected by any of these changes. But for those that are 54 and under we’re going to have to make modifications to these programs or they will not exist.”
Boehner said he was “begging” President Obama for months to “lock arms” and address reforms– but said the president told him “we’ll see.”