House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Monday brushed aside questions about his relationship with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), telling reporters that there is no daylight between them in the debt limit negotiations.
“The Speaker and I are on the same page. We don’t believe we should be raising taxes,” the Virginia Republican said during his weekly meeting with reporters.
Cantor, who quit talks with Vice President Joseph Biden last month, has found himself back in the spotlight on the debt talks after Boehner on Saturday abruptly rejected a “grand bargain” with President Barack Obama.
That dynamic had, in turn, refueled speculation that neither leader wanted to be seen as owning a deal to increase the debt limit and that both Cantor and Boehner were actively working to put the blame on each other.
Cantor, however, repeatedly rejected that idea. “We are in the same place” on the issue, Cantor said, arguing that Boehner’s decision to reject the bargain was an effort to “address the big issues facing the country” without raising taxes.
On the question of the debt limit talks, Cantor again rejected the idea of increased revenue in the bill, arguing that “our Members did not come here to raise taxes” and complained that it is Obama who has sought to unfairly force Republicans to break that pledge. “We’re not asking the president to violate his promises to the people of this country, and we wish he wouldn’t ask us to violate ours,” Cantor said.
Boehner insisted that while he and the president have a good personal relationship, they have very real differences on policy in trying to cut a deficit reduction deal.
“Clearly there’s no personality difference between the president and I; we get along fine,” the Ohio Republican said just before leaving for another bicameral meeting at the White House.
Boehner said he and Obama are still at opposite ends on taxes and entitlements. Boehner reiterated, “There was never any agreement to allow tax rates to go up in any discussion I’ve had with the White House,” and he said Obama and Congressional Democrats must make more concessions on cutting entitlements.
“I understand that this is going to take sacrifice and this is going to take political capital on both sides, and I’m certainly willing to take my fair share of it,” Boehner said, echoing the sentiment that Obama expressed during his own press conference earlier in the day. “But if we’re going to take political capital, then let’s step up and do the right thing for the country.”