GOP leaders: Obama must act on debt

Aug. 17, 2011 at 2:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The two top U.S. House Republicans said in an op-ed published Wednesday in USA Today President Obama needs to focus on real debt reduction.

The op-ed by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., says, "The American people elected the new House Republican majority with orders to stop Washington from spending money it doesn't have, and we listened. This spring, the House passed a budget that would cut spending by trillions of dollars and encourage private-sector job creation through economic growth -- without raising taxes. Among its key components are tax reforms that broaden the base and lower the rates for everyone, while making the tax code more fair by closing loopholes."

The op-ed said the GOP budget "also included real reforms that preserve and strengthen our insolvent entitlement programs, which are the biggest drivers of our debt. ... Unfortunately, the Democrats running Washington rejected both our budget and a 'cut, cap and balance' plan the House passed recently that would also save trillions."

The leaders also pushed a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

The Republican leaders said they "tried to persuade President Obama to do something significant to address our debt crisis, on the scale achieved in the House Republican budget. Yet time and again, he and his allies demanded tax increases on families and small businesses, tax increases that would destroy jobs."

The leaders said, "Time and again, we have reached out to President Obama in the hope that he would finally be ready to do what is needed to solve our debt crisis and tackle America's job crisis. The offer still stands. Let's get to work."

A response from the Democratic Leader Press Office said, "We all know the truth: After walking away from bipartisan negotiations with the White House and Democrats in Congress again and again and again, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor literally brought our nation to the brink of default resulting in a critical loss of confidence on Wall Street, in economic markets around the world and, most importantly, at kitchen tables across the country. Congressional Republicans have shown over the past 7 1/2 months they are more interested in scoring political points and protecting the special interests than they are in strengthening our economy for the middle-class and small businesses and putting America back to work."

Democrats and Republicans agreed on a debt deal enacted by Congress earlier this month that would cut $917 billion in spending over 10 years. The deal also creates a congressional committee charged with closing the deficit an additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion. If the panel deadlocks or Congress doesn't accept its plan, a prearranged set of spending cuts would kick in, including steep cuts to defense and entitlement programs to prod the committee and Congress to act.

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