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

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in June.

Two windsurfers rescued from Port Susan near Kayak Point

The men had failed to return to shore during Sunday’s windstorm.

Yes to turn signal — eventually

Adding a right-turn signal at 112th St. and 7th Ave. is turning out to be a bit more complicated.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

Most Read