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Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said he is “not concerned” about losing his hold on the gavel, despite some opposition from conservatives as he seeks to strike a deal with President Barack Obama to avert the fiscal cliff.
“I’m not concerned about my job as speaker,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “What I’m concerned about is doing the right thing for our kids and grandkids. And if we don’t fix this spending problem, their future is going to be rather bleak.”
Boehner was vague regarding details of his negotiations with Obama to head off automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to begin next year, skirting direct questions about whether he would allow taxes to go up.
“Ifs and ands and buts are like candy and nuts. If that was the case, every day would be Christmas,” he joked. “My goal ... is to get to an agreement with the president of the United States that addresses this problem.”
The Ohio Republican was, however, assertive on one point: He ruled out a demand from Obama to revise Congress’ role in raising the debt limit by mandating an automatic hike unless Congress votes to strike it down.
Boehner said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Obama, when he was a senator, would never have allowed President George W. Bush such power.
“Do you think there’s any chance that Sen. Reid or then-Sen. Obama would have done that? Zero. Congress is never going to give up our ability to control the purse. And the fact is the debt limit ought to be used to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C,” Boehner said.
The speaker also repeated his call for Obama to come forward with more spending cuts to help the parties come to an agreement.
“They’ve put some spending cuts on the table. Unfortunately, the new stimulus spending they want almost outstrips the whole of the spending cuts that they’ve outlined,” he said.