Republicans are “willing to accept new revenue” to tame the soaring national debt and avert an ugly battle over the approaching “fiscal cliff,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday in a speech that offered a potential path to compromise in year-end budget negotiations.
With President Obama reelected and Republicans returned to a slightly smaller majority in the House, Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday’s election amounted to a plea from voters for the parties to lay down their weapons of the past two years and “do what’s best for our country.”
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“That is the will of the people. And we answer to them,” Boehner said, according to advance excerpts of a speech he planned to deliver at an afternoon news conference at the Capitol. “For purposes of forging a bipartisan agreement that begins to solve the problem, we’re willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.”
While Boehner suggested that Republicans would continue to oppose Obama’s plan to take “a larger share of what the American people earn through higher tax rates,” he said the party is open to “increased revenue . . . as the by-product of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all.”
It was not immediately clear whether Boehner’s remarks indicate that he would acquiesce only to fresh revenues generated through economic growth rather than actual tax increases. Republicans have long argued that reforming the tax code would generate revenue by improving the economy, an assertion that budget analysts say is difficult to measure. Democrats have insisted that any deal include changes to the tax code that would provide additional income to the government regardless of their effects on the broader economy.
But Boehner hinted that he is open to the latter, citing an Republican offer during negotiations of the congressional supercommittee last fall, as well as his own negotiations with Obama during the 2011 debt-limit battle. At that time, Boehner had tentatively agreed to support $800 billion in additional revenue over the next decade in exchange for Obama’s commitment to let the top tax rate fall below the current 35 percent. Obama and other Democrats have long insisted that the George W. Bush-era tax cuts should be permitted to expire for the nation’s top earners, raising the top rate to 39.4 percent.
Boehner mentioned his negotiations with Obama in the speech Wednesday, saying: “We’re closer than many think to the critical mass needed legislatively to get tax reform done.”
In exchange, however, Boehner said Democrats must not “continue to duck the matter of entitlements,” referring to the rising cost of Social Security and federal health programs, which he called “the root of the problem.”
Boehner offered no details about the scope of GOP demands to rein in those programs. But he suggested a model for negotiations in the legislative session scheduled to begin Tuesday, proposing that policymakers enact a deficit-reduction plan aimed at replacing about $100 billion in automatic spending cuts set to kick in at the end of the year. This plan should be coupled with a framework for broader tax and entitlement reforms next year, in his view.
“We won’t solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight, in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress. And we certainly won’t solve it by simply raising tax rates or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff,” he said. “What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on — and a catalyst for — major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.”
Just an interesting note on welfare reform, and something you may want to look into
I read some stats today on the welfare reform issue in Canada as it directly relates to Welfare Reform. Seems the cost of reform and chasing down fraud is actually higher then what the fraud costs. Pathetic huh. No idea what the stat is in the US, but just thought it interesting. I'm very pro welfare reform in my country, and this stat confounded me.
I really feel like corporate American needs to have respect and support orphanedhawk. Sure, any unfair practices that they have or those dreaded ceo bonuses should be addressed but having a strong corporate sector is part of a strong economy. THEY are the employers of many people that count on them. I'm sure their existence keeps many off of the welfare lifestyle that a lot of Americans have adopted.
They contribute a lot to our country that deserves acknowledgement.
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