Boehner: No Debt Deal Without Cuts … “Trillions, Not Billions”

By Gregory

May 9, 2011 4:41pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: Tonight Speaker of the House John Boehner will set down a new marker in the high-stakes debate over raising the federal debt limit:  Spending cuts should be greater than any increase in the amount the government can borrow. “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase,” Boehner will say tonight in a speech to the New York Economic Club, according to speech excerpts released by his office.  “And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.” The Obama administration hasn’t said yet how much it wants the debt limit increased, but the last increase was $1.9 trillion.  To meet Boehner’s new requirement, a debt limit increase of anywhere near that amount would require massive reductions in government spending without precedent in American history. Consider this:  Last month, the government was brought to the brink of shutdown over a deal that cut spending by $38.5 billion dollars. “We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions,” Boehner will say.  “They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future.  And with the exception of tax hikes — which will destroy jobs — everything is on the table.  That includes honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare, because we all know, with millions of Baby Boomers beginning to retire, the status quo is unsustainable.” Boehner will not specify over what period of time his “trillions” in cuts would happen, but even if it is over a decade, it would likely be impossible to achieve those numbers without reducing spending on the government’s most popular, and previously untouchable, big-ticket programs:  Social Security, Medicare and Defense. Top Administration officials from the President on down have warned that failing to increase the debt limit would cause the government to default on its debt with catastrophic economic consequences.  Many economists and much of the business community agrees with that, but Boehner will say tonight that failing to cut spending would also have devastating economic consequences. “It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible,” Boehner will say.  “But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.  To increase the debt limit without simultaneously addressing the drivers of our debt — in defiance of the will of our people — would be monumentally arrogant and massively irresponsible.”   ———–  Here are more excerpts of Boehner’s speech:  BOEHNER SAYS WASHINGTON SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON LONG-TERMS ECONOMIC GROWTH:  ”[W]e will not succeed in balancing the federal budget and overcoming the challenges of our debt until we commit ourselves to government policies that will let our economy achieve long-term growth.  Our economy won’t grow as long as we continue to trip it up with short-term gimmicks from Washington. … All too often, rather than providing long-term policies that will help our economy expand, government offers short-term fixes that do little right away, and end up making things worse over time.”  BOEHNER WARNS THAT A DEBT LIMIT HIKE WITHOUT SPENDING CUTS & REFORMS WILL HURT THE ECONOMY:  ”It’s true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible.  But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.  To increase the debt limit without simultaneously addressing the drivers of our debt — in defiance of the will of our people — would be monumentally arrogant and massively irresponsible.  It would send a signal to investors and entrepreneurs everywhere that America still is not serious about dealing with our spending addiction.  It would erode confidence in our economy and reduce certainty for small businesses.  And this would destroy even more American jobs.”  BOEHNER SAYS SPENDING CUTS SHOULD BE GREATER THAN ACCOMPANYING INCREASE IN DEBT LIMIT:  ”Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase.  And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.  We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.  They should be actual cuts and program reforms, not broad deficit or debt targets that punt the tough questions to the future.  And with the exception of tax hikes — which will destroy jobs — everything is on the table.  That includes honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare, because we all know, with millions of Baby Boomers beginning to retire, the status quo is unsustainable.  If we don’t act boldly now, the markets will act for us very soon.  That’s the warning we got from Standard & Poor’s a few weeks ago.”  BOEHNER MAKES CLEAR TAX HIKES WILL UNDERMINE EFFORTS TO CREATE JOBS, BALANCE THE BUDGET: “A tax hike would wreak havoc not only on our economy’s ability to create private-sector jobs, but also on our ability to tackle the national debt.  Balancing the budget requires spending cuts and economic growth.  We won’t have economic growth if we raise taxes and fail to address the drivers of our debt.  The mere threat of tax hikes causes uncertainty for job creators — uncertainty that results in less risk-taking and fewer jobs.  If we’re serious about balancing the budget and getting our economy back to creating jobs, tax hikes should be off the table.”
BOEHNER CALLS FOR MORE AMERICAN ENERGY TO ADDRESS SOARING RISING GAS PRICES: “There’s a clear connection between high gas prices and the weak dollar that some in Washington have quietly welcomed over the past couple of years.  It’s well known that when you print tons of money, the dollar sinks, and the price of food and energy rises — significantly.  Yet the American people are told there is nothing that can be done about it.  This is simply untrue.  Washington has also kept most of our nation’s vast energy resources under lock and key for decades, over the clear objections of the American people — the people who own those resources.  If we had listened to the people decades ago — or even a few years ago — many of these resources would be available to us right now to lower the price of energy.  And we would probably have about a million private-sector jobs in America that we don’t currently have.”  

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