Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner says he’s ready to “lock arms” with President Barack Obama on a deficit reduction agreement tied to raising the federal debt ceiling.
Such a deal, reminiscent of past political agreements between presidents and House speakers of different parties, will be necessary to get congressional and White House approval of a measure that allows the U.S. government to increase how much it can borrow, Boehner told the CBS program “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday.
“Well, I think it’s the end of this process. It’s going to have to come to that,” Boehner said. “I’ve talked to the president all year, privately, about the fact that we were not going to increase the debt limit without serious changes.”
Boehner said he has told Obama: “Come on, you and I, let’s lock arms and we’ll jump out of the boat together."
“I’m serious about dealing with this, and I hope he’s just as serious,” Boehner said. “No gimmicks … We know what needs to be done. Let’s just do it.”
At the same time, Boehner stuck to hard-line Republican positions by advocating a House-passed budget proposal that would overhaul Medicare and Medicaid while cutting non-military spending. He also continued to reject any kind of tax increase as a way to raise revenue.
Obama contends that Bush-era tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 a year should be lifted, and some Democrats also are considering a possible surtax on income over $1 million.
Boehner argued that the wealthy already pay the bulk of tax revenues collected, and targeting them now will inhibit investment necessary for job creation.
“The top 1 percent of wage earners in the United States pay 40 percent of the income taxes. The top 10 percent of wage earners pay 90 percent of the income taxes,” Boehner said. “The people he’s talking about taxing are the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to create jobs in our country.”