Boehner: ‘We Are Going to Begin to Solve Our Debt Problem’— 72% Debt-to-GDP Ratio in 2022

Elizabeth Harrington | December 12, 2012 | 11:52am EST
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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who spoke with President Barack Obama yesterday, arrives for a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “We are going to begin to solve our debt problem” with his proposal to avert the fiscal cliff, Wednesday.

“Presidents get elected to lead,” Boehner said during a press conference on Capitol Hill.  “The president talked about a balanced approach. We’ve brought a balanced approach.

“But I’ve said this – you’ve all heard me say this, and I’ll say it one more time: we are going to begin to solve our debt problem,” he said. “And we’re not going to be able to solve it by kicking the can down the road and doing all the gimmicks that have been done in the past.”

“It’s time to address our spending problem,” Boehner said.

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According to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a bipartisan, non-profit organization, however, the proposal offered by Boehner would still leave the debt above 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 10 years from now.

The group analyzed both the proposals offered by President Barack Obama and the House Republican leadership, finding little difference in their results to lower the share of debt to GDP.

Obama’s plan, which featured $1.6 trillion in tax hikes and at least $50 billion in additional stimulus spending, will leave debt-to-GDP at 73 percent by 2022.

Boehner’s proposal, meanwhile, which was sent in the form of a letter to the White House on Dec. 3 and conceded $800 billion in new revenue and roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts, leaves debt-to-GDP at 72 percent in 2022.

“While it is great to see that both sides are looking to address revenue and spending, both sides should negotiate up not down,” the committee said. “The original plans offered are likely to barely stabilize the debt or put it on a slow downward path.

“Going bigger offers the opportunity to put the debt on a clear downward path over the medium-term and making substantial improvements on our long-term fiscal situation,” the group said.

Negotiations to avert the looming across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year have stalled due to the dispute over raising tax rates, with the president insisting the top two percent of income earners see a tax hike, and Republicans calling for additional revenue from the wealthy in the form of closing tax loopholes.

Boehner said Wednesday that the White House is “slow walking” the country toward the so-called fiscal cliff, by offering a plan of “mainly tax hikes.”

“His plan does not begin to solve our debt crisis,” he said. “It actually increases spending.

“In the five weeks since we signaled our willingness to forge an agreement with the president, he’s never put forth a plan that meets these standards, and quite frankly, why we don’t have an agreement today,” Boehner added.

“The longer the White House slow walks this discussion, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff and the more American jobs are placed in jeopardy.”

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