Debt Limit: Boehner Calls Cut, Cap and Balance a ‘Balanced Approach’

By John R Parkinson

Jul 19, 2011 3:38pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Cut, Cap and Balance proposal later today, Speaker John Boehner says that the plan is a win-win situation for all parties – with the president getting his debt limit increase and Congress getting its spending cuts and long-term reforms to put the country on a path towards fiscal security. 

“When you look at the tremendous threat that faces our country from out-of-control spending, it's pretty clear to our members that cutting spending, capping spending in the future and requiring a balanced budget amendment is the most responsible thing that we can do to address our problems today and to address our problems long term,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “The president has said now for once he wants a balanced approach. Well, guess what. In ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ he does get a balanced approach. He gets his increase in the debt limit of $2.4 trillion. What we get are real cuts in spending and real reforms in place that'll make sure that this problem never, ever happens again.” 

The House is expected to bring the measure to the floor for a vote on final passage later this evening, around 7:00 p.m. The president has threatened to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Boehner said that throughout the bipartisan negotiations, “the president's actions have not matched his rhetoric” and once again pressed President Obama to present a written proposal to bring into the discussion.

“He talks about getting serious about cutting spending. We still have not seen the president's plan,” Boehner said. “It's time for the president to get serious about working with Congress to solve this impending crisis.” 

When pressed by ABC News’ senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl whether he is still working to craft a grand compromise, Boehner did not rule it out but said that he was “not going to give up hope on ‘cut, cap and balance.’” 

“I do think it's responsible for us to look at what plan B would look like, and the leadership had a long conversation yesterday about plan B. There are a lot of options available to us,” Boehner said. “There have been no decisions made as yet.” 

Asked whether he is confident that lawmakers will be able to strike a deal to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the Treasury Department’s August 2 deadline, Boehner admitted that “defaulting on our debt would be irresponsible,” but contended that it would be “just as irresponsible…to increase the debt limit without taking serious action to reduce current spending and our long-term obligations.” 

“It's about finding 218 votes — a majority of the House — to do the responsible thing,” Boehner said.  “There are lots of ideas out there from Democrats and Republicans, but guess what? None of them have a majority. This [Cut, Cap and Balance] proposal has a majority. It's a responsible plan. That's why we've put it forward.” 

“The president said he wanted a balanced plan. That's what this is, a balanced plan,” he added. “He gets his increase in the — in the debt limit; we get real cuts in spending and real reforms that'll make sure this doesn't happen again.”

Boehner was asked for an explanation on why he is moving a bill that does not have a chance of passing the Senate – not to mention a slim chance of members approving a Balanced Budget Amendment by a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress. 

“I'm not going to go out of my way to say or predict that the Senate can't pass this. The Senate — there's nothing the Senate can't do when they want to,” Boehner said. “In 1997, the two-thirds necessary for a constitutional amendment passed the House, and it got 66 votes in the United States Senate — one shy of the votes necessary, and I just believe, in the current environment, anything's possible.”

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl contributed to this report

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