Speaker Boehner calls for big budget cuts

WASHINGTON — In the first closed-door meeting of the Republican majority in the new Congress, newly re-elected House Speaker John Boehner on Friday promised a robust fight with President Obama to cut spending in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit.

The Ohio Republican doubled down on his insistence that there must be at least a dollar-per-dollar match between spending reductions and continued borrowing.

“With the cliff behind us, the focus turns to spending,” Boehner said, according to a source in the room. “The president says he isn’t going to have a debate with us over the debt ceiling. He also says he’s not going to cut spending along with the debt limit hike.”

On the heels of the divisive “fiscal cliff” battle over the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that briefly went into effect at the beginning of the year, Boehner is launching a new budget fight.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner notified Congress earlier this week that the nation has already hit its $16 trillion debt limit, and Congress will be asked soon to raise the borrowing authority to continue paying the nation’s bills. Geithner can take temporary measures to pay creditors for several weeks.

Without lifting the debt limit, the federal government would face a cataclysmic default on it already accrued obligations — akin to stopping payments on a mortgage or credit card debt.

Boehner and his GOP allies in the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are setting up a repeat of the budget wars that defined the last Congress, and led to a cycle of brinkmanship and crisis.

McConnell made similar remarks in the Senate as the new Congress was sworn in.

In convening rank-and-file Republicans on Friday morning, a day after the new Congress began its session, the speaker also released new polling from a Republican-aligned firm that showed overwhelming public support for Boehner’s demand of a 1-to-1 ratio of cuts to new borrowing.

The Winston Group poll found 72 percent support for the so-called Boehner principle.

Past polling, however, has shown public enthusiasm for spending cuts wane as specific programs — including health care, transportation and education — are targeted for cuts, as they have been by Republicans in the past, particularly under the austerity budget from Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., the former vice presidential nominee.

Boehner launched the opening bid after having narrowly won re-election as speaker despite defections from 10 conservatives, who make up the majority of the House GOP.

More in Local News

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

Jordan Evers distributes coffee Sunday afternoon during the annual community meal at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett on November 19, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Firefighters serve Thanksgiving meals at Carl Gipson center

The next two feasts at the senior center in Everett will be Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 3.

Pair charged with first-degree robbery in marijuana theft

A man was shot in the head during a holdup that was supposed to net about an ounce of pot.

Planning — and patience — can ease Thanksgiving travel

The Washington State Department of Transportation offers information to help guide planning.

Puffy-coated robbery suspect arrested on Whidbey

The suspect apparently wore the same outfit in 2 robberies at the same place in less than 2 weeks.

Injection sites still banned — County Council doesn’t budge

At a public hearing, more than 15 people said they are opposed to sanctioned areas for using heroin.

Dog shot at Mountlake Terrace house during burglary

A suspect was arrested Friday in Everett for investigation of burglary and first-degree animal cruelty.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Most Read