Speaker John Boehner charged Democrats today with being willing to “tank our economy” to secure a “small business tax hike” in response to vows by top Democrats that they will use scheduled defense spending cuts as leverage on taxes.
“Has it come to this, that Democrats are willing to hurt jobs and tank our economy for the sake of a small business tax hike that would also have disastrous consequences?” Boehner said in a written statement.
Senate Democrats said they see no political downside to leaving the issue of $1.2 trillion in automatic spending to both defense and domestic accounts until after the November elections, as they try to use the cuts as leverage with Republicans to negotiate on tax increases on the wealthy
“We structured the sequester in a way that would be more comfortable for us than for Republicans,” a senior Senate Democratic aide said, referring to the cuts by their technical name. The cuts, which are set to begin next year, are nearly evenly split between defense and domestic spending but do not affect Democratic priorities, such as Social Security and Medicaid.
“Instead of threatening to derail our economy, Democrats ought to help protect job creators from the president’s small business tax hike. Most Americans want Congress to stop all the tax hikes, and that is exactly what the House will vote to do,” Boehner said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.