WASHINGTON — Speaker of the House John Boehner said Wednesday that though he does not like the sequester and the damage the cuts would do to the country’s defense capabilities and other programs, he would not agree to delay the cuts without a commitment to other spending cuts.
“I don’t like the sequester. I think it’s taking a meat to axe to our government, a meat axe to many of our programs, and it will weaken our national defense,” Boehner told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
But, Boehner said, without an agreement to impose spending cuts in other areas, he would not agree to delay the sequester as President Barack Obama requested Tuesday.
“We know what the menu of options are, cuts and reforms that we can put in place to put us on a sound fiscal path, and help investors and business people in America understand where it is the government’s going, being more responsible about our debt, and those cuts and reforms should be put into place,” Boehner said.
He criticized Obama for not laying out specifics about how he would replace the sequester if it were delayed, or for specifying any long-term plan for spending cuts.
“Yesterday the president warned of grave economic consequences if the sequester were to go into effect, but he didn’t announce any specific plans of how he would address it,” Boehner said. “He didn’t bother to outline how he would replace the sequester, which he suggested and insisted upon in August of 2011. He didn’t even tell us when we might see his budget, which is again late, and how he would address the sequester in his budget.”
“We believe there’s a better way to lower the deficit,” Boehner said of the cuts that will automatically go into effect on March 1 if the sequester is not delayed or replaced. “But Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes. The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts.”
“The president doesn’t believe we have a spending problem. He genuinely believes that government spending causes economic growth. If that were true, the economy today would be thriving,” Boehner said.
“We passed a bill twice to replace the sequester. And it’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to do their job,” he said.