Setback in Deficit Talks

Setback in Deficit Talks

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day when President Obama and top congressional Republicans and Democrats announced how close they were to a deal on the deficit, but that became clear tonight.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced tonight that he was withdrawing from the talks, which President Obama announced days ago would be broadened to try to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years instead of only $2 trillion over 10 years.

In a statement, Boehner complained that Democrats continued to insist on tax increases:

“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes. I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase.”

Democratic insistence that tax increases be part of the deal as well as the spending cuts demanded by Republicans is hardly news, however. The second highest-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), walked out of the Biden-led talks referred to in Boehner’s statement on June 23 over the same issue. Cantor’s action is what prompted President Obama to talk over leadership of the negotiations.

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