Boehner: "It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, and the American people think we're crazy,"
House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that any increase in the government's borrowing limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and other budget savings of greater value, and he rejected tax increases as part of any deal to reduce the federal deficit.
Those positions signaled to the White House that congressional Republicans are prepared for fiscal brinkmanship at the end of the year, when Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire, large automatic spending cuts are set to begin and the government reaches its $16.394 trillion borrowing limit.
"It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, and the American people think we're crazy," Mr. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said at a Washington event hosted by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a group that pushes for deficit reduction.
Mr. Boehner succeeded last year in forcing the White House and congressional Democrats to agree to the same terms. But that showdown almost led the U.S. government to default on its obligations before they reached a last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion and require spending cuts of a similar size.
The annual federal budget is about $3.8 trillion, and the government is expected to bring in roughly $2.5 trillion in taxes and other revenue this year.
The White House has said it won't extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year, while many GOP lawmakers have said they won't vote to raise taxes. Senate Democrats have said they won't repeal military-spending cuts set to begin in January without a deal to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Mr. Boehner also said the House would vote this fall to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts, and then address corporate and individual tax codes in 2013. The White House and Senate Democrats haven't agreed to any of these proposals, but they also haven't signaled how they plan to negotiate with Republicans.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), speaking at the Peterson Foundation event, said lawmakers would likely take steps after the November elections to delay the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts until they have more time to craft alternatives.
Some lawmakers have said it won't be clear who has more leverage going into the negotiations until after the elections.