Speaker of the House John Boehner said Congress and the White House have been unable to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff because President Barack Obama “still isn’t serious” about cutting federal spending.
Boehner was asked on Thursday at his weekly press briefing why Congress is in session “this late every single year.”
“Well, we really shouldn’t be,” he replied. “I argued going back to spring that this issue had to be dealt with. That’s why in May the House moved a bill to replace the sequester with other cuts in mandatory spending. It’s why in July the House passed a bill to extend all of the current tax rates. I’ve been pushing all year for us to address this problem.”
“But here we are, at the 11th hour, and the president still isn’t serious about dealing with this issue right here. It’s this issue, spending. Now you go back to — and want to talk about polling — most Americans would agree that spending is a much bigger problem than raising taxes. They want us to deal with this in a responsible way.” (RELATED: Poll shows most Americans want spending curbs)
During his remarks, Boehner referenced a chart that showed the level of the government’s spending as a percentage of GDP since 2006.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the “federal budget deficit was $292 billion for the first two months of fiscal year 2013, $57 billion more than the shortfall recorded in October and November of last year.”
The CBO also says that “revenues rose by $30 billion, or 10 percent, but outlays increased by $87 billion, or 16 percent.”
Boehner refused to answer hypothetical questions from reporters about the fiscal cliff situation, saying, “ifs and ands and buts are like candy and nuts. If that were the case, every day would be Christmas.”