Boehner Calls for Tax Reform; Obama Signals Some Give on Revenue/Entitlement Reform

November 9, 2012 06:48 AM
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Both leaders have press conferences today

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) both held press briefings today, and their statements at least signaled some possible compromises on key fiscal cliff issues, although Obama was more hard-hitting and appeared to be less flexibile than Boehner.

At a news conference this morning, Boehner called for reform of the tax code as part of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Boehner said, “On Wednesday, I outlined a responsible path forward to avert the fiscal cliff without raising tax rates. About 24 hours after I spoke, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the most harmful consequences of the fiscal cliff come from increasing tax rates. According to Ernst & Young, raising the top rates would destroy nearly 700,000 jobs in our country.” Boehner added that the “members of our majority understand how important it is to avert the fiscal cliff” and it is “why I outlined a responsible path forward where we can replace the spending cuts and extend the current rates, paving the way for entitlement reform, as well as tax reform, with lower rates.”

Boehner added, “Now, 2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt through tax reform and entitlement reform, and I'm proposing that we avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures that 2013 is finally the year that our government comes to grips with the major problems that are facing us. This will bring jobs home and result in a stronger, healthier economy. And a stronger, healthier economy means more Americans working and more revenues, which is what the President is seeking. This framework can lead to common ground, and I hope the President will respond today in that same spirit. As I said on Wednesday, this is an opportunity for the President to lead. This is his moment to engage the Congress and work towards a solution that can pass both chambers.”

President Obama today invited congressional leaders to meet with him at the White House next week. In his first statement since winning reelection, Obama called on Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire for individuals earning over $200,000 per year and families earning over $250,000. “Let’s extend the middle-class tax cuts right now. Let’s do that right now,” Obama added.

The president said while he is "open to compromise," he will not accept a Republican plan that only contains spending cuts. "I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced," he told an East Room audience. “On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach,” Obama said. “Our job now is to get a majority in Congress to reflect the view of the American people.”

Obama also said he was encouraged to hear House Speaker John Boehner "agree that tax revenue has to be part of this equation, and I look forward to hearing his ideas when I see him next week."

Comments: Market traders have determined Boehner showed more "give" than the president regarding sensitive matters, but both at least signaled shades of compromise on touchy matters.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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