(CNN) - House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, laid out a sweeping reform agenda for Congress Thursday, promising to make spending increases much tougher if he becomes speaker in January.
Sticking to the GOP focus on skyrocketing federal deficits, Boehner said that too many congressmen currently "go out and promise their constituents the moon," which ultimately leads to "passing more bills, micromanaging more bureaucracies, and raiding the federal treasury."
Addressing the conservative American Enterprise Institute, he promised to help usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation, but also pledged to change House rules in a way that would strongly favor the agenda being pushed by fiscal conservatives in the Tea Party movement and elsewhere.
Specifically, Boehner proposing to do away with the "comprehensive" spending bills that have been a hallmark of the congressional appropriations process for decades.
"Let's break them up to encourage scrutiny and make spending cuts easier," Boehner said.
"For decades, the word 'comprehensive' has been used as a positive adjective in Washington. I would respectfully submit that those days are behind us. The American people are not well-served by 'comprehensive.'"
House members, Boehner said, "shouldn't have to vote for big increases at the Commerce Department just because they support NASA. Each department and agency should justify itself each year to the full House and Senate, and be judged on its own."
Boehner also proposed a new "cut as you go" rule that would apply to any congressman proposing the creation of a new government benefit or program.
"Under this 'CutGO' rule, if it is your intention to create a new government program, you must also terminate or reduce spending on an existing government program of equal or greater size - in the very same bill," he said.
"Let's turn the activists for big government on each other, instead of letting them gang up on the taxpayer," he said, quoting Missouri GOP Rep. Roy Blunt.
Boehner pledged to "end earmarking as we know it," though he did not specifically promise to ban the much-maligned practice.
"Reform should be an ongoing and inclusive effort," he said. "I don't have all the answers, and wouldn't pretend to. I welcome ideas and helping hands from any lawmaker, expert, or citizen about how we can make this institution function again."
Boehner's remarks came exactly one week after House GOP leaders unveiled their 21-page "Pledge to America" - a document that includes promises to slash taxes, cut government and reverse President Barack Obama's health care reforms.
Among other things, the top House Republicans have pledged to permanently extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts due to expire at the end of this year - including for individuals making over $250,000.
They've also proposed giving small businesses a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, while requiring Congress to review any new federal regulations that add to the deficit.
At the same time, they are pushing a domestic spending freeze, with the exception of certain politically sensitive programs such as veterans' benefits.
But while stressing the need to reduce spiraling deficits, they have not offered specifics on how to restrain the growth of major entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't wait for Boehner to deliver the speech before slamming it. A statement from Pelosi's office said that in "12 years of a GOP-controlled Congress, there were an unprecedented number of abuses of power; a completely broken ethics process; passing major bills at 5:50 a.m. after holding a vote open for 3 hours; and countless deals with special interests behind closed doors."
–CNN's Alan Silverleib, Deirdre Walsh and Dana Bash contributed to this report