Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats and the White House of reacting to his budget plan with “panic and hysteria” Thursday, saying his request for trillions of dollars in spending cuts “isn’t radical.”
In prepared remarks, the Ohio Republican attempted to defend himself against criticism that his demand for such deep cuts is unworkable. He said in a speech in New York Monday that Republicans in Congress want any budget deal with the White House to include spending cuts that are equal to any increase in the debt limit. Boehner has designated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as his lead negotiator with Vice President Joseph Biden and Congressional Democrats on raising the debt limit. Those talks are expected to resume Thursday afternoon.
Boehner contended that his proposal “struck a nerve” with Democrats and those on the left, and he doubled down on his demand for the cuts.
“We are determined to cut spending and change the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars. The American people have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of giving the president a blank check to increase the debt limit — and the Republicans are listening to them,” he said, according to prepared remarks.
He also directly addressed Democratic allegations that his proposal would only further deepen the nation’s economic troubles.
“I also want to address those who’d suggest our efforts to cut spending could somehow hurt our economy or hurt the markets,” Boehner said. “If we don’t act boldly now, the markets will act for us very soon. ... The greatest threat to our economy, to job creation and to our children’s future is doing nothing. Doing nothing is not an option. The American people won’t tolerate it, and neither will we.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.