Boehner: I'm Trying to Make Obama 'Get Serious' on Debt

Sunday, 06 Nov 2011 10:26 AM

By Amy Woods

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House Speaker John Boehner says no one is more upset than he is about the failure to reach an agreement with President Barack Obama on the U.S. economy.

“I have tried all year, with every fiber of my being, to try to get members on both sides of the aisle, trying to get the president, to get serious about dealing with our debt problem,” Boehner told Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s “This Week” today.

“I really thought the president and I could come to an agreement. I thought, for the good of the country, he and I could have solved this problem.”

Boehner said he is committed to bringing Democrats and Republicans to the table to solve America’s “spending problem.”

“We’ve passed 22 bills, all with bipartisan support, that would help reduce barriers to job growth,” he said. “They all remain in the United States Senate. You're going to see the House move, I think, before the end of the year on an infrastructure bill.”

Meanwhile, the president is engaging in “class warfare,” Boehner said. “The president’s out there doing it every day. I, frankly, think it’s unfortunate.”

Raising taxes on wealthy Americans will not solve the economic crisis and will harm small business owners instead, Boehner said.

“You’re going to basically increase taxes on the very people that we’re hoping will reinvest in our economy and create jobs,” the House speaker said. “That’s the real crux of the problem.”

Congress and the administration must work together to cut spending, he said.

“I believe that we can create revenue out of fixing our tax code and bring that revenue to the table as long as our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are serious about cutting spending,” he said.

Boehner would not comment on the Herman Cain scandal when asked, nor would he reveal his thoughts about any of the GOP presidential candidates. He told Amanpour that his focus remains on curbing debt and reducing the deficit.

“We can’t have government debt that’s snuffing out the future for our kids and grandkids,” he said. “We can't have a government that’s taking 30 or 40 cents out of every dollar from our kids and grandkids to pay for government.”

The supercommittee must succeed in proposing solutions to the country’s debt crisis, he said.

“This is hard,” he said. “If it was easy, the president and I could have solved it. If it was easy, Congresses over the last two decades would have solved it. It has to work, and I am committed to ensuring that it works.”

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