Speaker John Boehner maintained Thursday that entitlement reforms remain part of debt limit negotiations.
“Nothing is off the table except raising taxes, because raising taxes will hurt job creation in America,” Boehner told reporters at a press conference. “I think we have a window of opportunity that I have not seen in the 20 years that I have been here, a real opportunity to sit down as adults and to address these major challenges.”
The Ohio Republican’s pushback was in response to questions about comments Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) made Thursday throwing cold water on the GOP Medicare plan. At a Health Affairs policy breakfast Camp said that while he supports reforming Medicare, it hasn’t gotten traction in the Senate and that he doesn’t plan on moving forward with it in his committee.
“I’m not really interested in laying down more markers,” Camp said according to news reports. “I’d rather have the committee working with the Senate and with the president to focus on savings and reforms that can be signed into law.”
Camp's comments come as Vice President Joseph Biden is beginning debt limit negotiations.
Boehner said he was “optimistic” that the discussions have begun and hopes an agreement can be reached as soon as possible.
Still, Boehner gave few details on what spending cuts he wants, saying that “when we talk about moving forward and real spending cuts the discretionary part of our budget is roughly one-third of our budget” and that there is “plenty to be saved there.”
Boehner is slated to speak next week at the New York Economic Club and said he will use that opportunity to say more about House Republicans’ plan on the debt ceiling.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.