Wadsworth, Ohio (CNN) – Throwing cold water on any major effort during the lame duck Congress to reach a deal that would avert the fiscal cliff, House Speaker John Boehner told CNN on Sunday the best outcome would be some sort of temporary fix to postpone the cuts, but admitted even that would be tough to get through.
Sitting down for an interview with CNN at a sports bar in Ohio, Boehner said "lame duck Congresses aren't known for doing big things and probably shouldn't do big things, so I think the best you can hope for is a bridge."
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Boehner, who was on the second day of statewide bus tour campaigning for GOP presidential ticket, declined to give any details but said he expected said "some kind temporary push back of the sequester."
"I would think that would be the best you can hope for, and even that is going to be very difficult to do," he said.
Congress faces an end-of-the-year deadline before an enormous amount of spending cuts kick in and tax breaks begin to expire, including the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of December. The fiscal cliff also includes the so-called sequestration, automatic across-the-board spending cuts set to trigger at the beginning of 2013 if Capitol Hill fails to create a deficit-reduction plan.
The Department of Defense would especially see a big cut–about 9.4% of its budget would be slashed and be reduced to $491 billion from $554 billion in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projects.
President Barack Obama's recently predicted in an interview that he could get a "grand bargain" with Congress, negotiating a deficit reduction plan of $2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue. Boehner, however, said "I don't think that's big enough."
The speaker repeated the same line in the sand that he has put down in previous talks on any deficit deal.
"I made it clear that any increase in the debt limit – the cuts and reforms have to be greater than the increase in the debt limit. How many times do we want to deal with the debt limit over the next four years?" he said.
Asked about the political dynamics if president Obama wins and Congress remains divided with a GOP House and Democratic Senate, Boehner said he's a "reasonable" guy but needs people in the Senate and in the White House "who will work with me."
"So if there's a status quo election, there's going to be an awful lot of responsibility on the president to finally lead instead of squandering his opportunity at being president," he said.