Boehner: ‘It takes two to tango’

Amanda Carey Contributor
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House Speaker John Boehner responded to President Obama Monday afternoon by holding his own press conference on Capitol Hill, less than an hour before heading to the White House for negotiations.

“It takes two to tango, and they’re not there yet,” said Boehner, referring to the Obama administration.

While pointing out that both sides agree on the need to enact spending cuts and raise the debt limit, Boehner blasted the administration for not being serious enough about fundamental reforms.

“This boils down to two things,” said Boehner. The president, he said, continues to put certain tax increases on the table without looking at what congressional Republicans believe to be serious and needed reforms of entitlements and the budget process.

“Adding tax increases to the equation doesn’t balance anything,” he said. “Tax hikes destroy jobs.” Boehner added that any increases would be on the “very people that we are asking to create jobs in our country.”

The speaker once again laid out the requirements any deal would have to have in order to pass the House. Any bill must include spending cuts larger than the amount of the debt-limit increase, spending caps, and a balanced-budget amendment.

“A bill that fails to pass this test will not pass the House,” said Boehner.

Earlier in the day, President Obama held his own press conference at the White House, in which he ruled out the possibility of a short-term or stopgap measure.

“We don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments,” said the president. “[W]e’re going to resolve this for a reasonable period of time.” He said that negotiators need to just “pull off the Band Aid” and “eat our peas.”

The president positioned himself between his own party and Republicans, arguing that if he is willing to tackle entitlement reforms that are unpopular among Democrats, lawmakers on the other side of the aisle should give ground on revenue increases.

Obama said that if he is “willing to take heat from my party … I expect the other party to do the same.”

During his Capitol Hill press conference, Boehner responded by saying, “I understand that this is going to take sacrifice and political capital on both sides … and I’m willing to take my share of it.”

Congressional leaders were scheduled to meet with the president Monday afternoon at 2 p.m.