Congressional Republican leaders told President Barack Obama face-to-face Friday that they will not accept any new taxes as part of a solution to the sequester, and are hopeful that a deal can be reached that would avert a government shutdown at the end of the month.
“The president got his tax hikes on Jan. 1. The discussion on revenue, in my view, is over,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters after the White House meeting. “It’s about taking on the spending problem here in Washington.”
He said the House in the meantime would move a bill to keep the government open past the March 27 deadline and hopes Democrats would agree to it.
“I’m hopeful that we won’t have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we’re dealing with the sequester at the same time,” Boehner said.
Before Friday’s White House meeting, which lasted for 52 minutes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the confab would not yield results.
“There will be no last-minute, back-room deal and absolutely no agreement to increase taxes,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.
David Schnittger, Boehner’s deputy chief of staff, gave the statement a “+1” of approval on Twitter.
McConnell said Republicans have offered Obama numerous alternatives to the sequester, including flexibility to implement the drastic cuts in a more intelligent way, and McConnell said he is willing to discuss ideas.
But Republicans have been clamoring for a return to regular order, and McConnell, perhaps Washington’s most accomplished practitioner of the dark arts of back-room deals, no longer wants to play that game.
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.