Boehner: ‘I Think the Tax Issue Has Been Resolved’

March 21, 2013 - 2:05 PM

Budget Battle Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(CNSNews.com) – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that the "tax issue has been resolved," that Republicans will not agree to further tax hikes when dealing with the debt limit later this summer.

During his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, Boehner was asked if the country is headed for another battle over the debt ceiling when it is met in August. (The debt ceiling is the amount of money the government is legally allowed to borrow; to increase that limit, Congress must pass a bill and the president sign it into law.)

"You’re asking me a question I can’t answer," Boehner said.  "Listen, we’ve made clear that to get rid of the sequester, we need cuts and reforms that will put us on a path to balance the budget over 10 years."

"The president has been clear that he’s not going to address our entitlement crisis unless we’re willing to raise taxes," he said.  “I think the tax issue has been resolved."

"So at this point in time I don’t know how we go forward," Boehner added, "but I would suggest that out of this budget process might be our best opportunity."

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also ruled out tax increases this week, saying that the president would "get nothing" from the GOP on taxes.

When asked if raising the debt limit would give House Republicans "leverage," Boehner said, "There might be some there but I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government."

The debt limit was last lifted in August 2011, to the current level of $16.39 trillion. That ceiling, however, was met on Dec. 31, 2012, but through "extraordinary measures" by the Treasury Department was postponed. Congress voted in February to suspend the debt limit until May 18, though the ceiling can be postponed by Treasury again until August. As of Tuesday, the national debt stands at $16.75 trillion.

Boehner said that when Congress deals with the debt ceiling this summer, Republicans will seek "dollar for dollar" spending cuts to match any increase.

Republicans agreed to tax-rate increases in the deal to avert the fiscal cliff in January, raising the rates to the Clinton-era levels on individuals earning more than $400,000 and families making $450,000 a year.