Boehner, McConnell urge Obama to name spending cuts
December 11th, 2012
12:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Boehner, McConnell urge Obama to name spending cuts

(CNN) - Seeking to raise pressure on President Barack Obama, top Republican leaders in Congress called on the White House Tuesday to introduce serious cuts in the ongoing negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff.

"Where are the president's spending cuts? The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff," House Speaker John Boehner said during brief remarks on the House floor.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Boehner described his Sunday meeting with the president as "cordial" but contended he's still "waiting" for Obama to identify entitlement cuts to go along with his proposal to increase tax rates on the wealthy.

"Even if we did exactly as the president wants, we would see red ink as far as the eye can see," Boehner said. "That's not fixing the problem."

Congress faces an end-of-the-year deadline to find a fiscal cliff deal before automatic tax increases and spending cuts kick in at the start of 2013. Democrats propose raising revenue by letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on the top 2% of income earners, while Republicans oppose any kind of tax rate hike and demand spending cuts to accompany increased revenue from eliminating tax deductions and loopholes.

READ MORE: Angry with Obama, GOP threatens political war next year

The president's proposal calls for $1.6 trillion in new revenue through tax increases and reforms, along with $400 billion in spending cuts. Republicans offered $800 billion in revenue through tax reform, but not higher tax rates, and $1.2 trillion in cuts and savings.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said Obama's $400 billion spending cut proposal is "vague."

"Until the president gets specific about cuts, nobody should trust Democrats to put a dime in new revenue toward real deficit reduction or to stop their shakedown of the taxpayers at the top 2%," the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor shortly before Boehner's remarks.

He pointed to a number of federally-funded programs that he considers wasteful spending, including a project at the University of California at Davis, where researchers built robotic squirrels to examine why the mammals are willing to confront rattlesnakes, their main predators, in the wild.

The project was awarded a grant worth $390,000 by the National Science Foundation in 2010, according to the university.

"Don't you think (Obama) could put together a list of spending cuts that at least, at least includes robo-squirrel? We are still waiting," McConnell said.

Recent polls show a majority of Americans favor the president's position that includes higher tax rates on the top income brackets. A new Politico/George Washington University survey on Monday said 60% of respondents supported Obama's proposal compared to 38% who opposed it, the latest of four surveys in the past two weeks showing public backing.

On entitlement reform, a source familiar with the debt talks told CNN that the two sides have yet to specifically address the cuts as they go back and forth about their overall goals.

With several Republican senators and some Republican House members expressing openness to the president's plan, one of the running arguments in the GOP calls for agreeing to the president's tax demand now so the talks can zero in on spending cuts.

Firing back to her GOP colleagues on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats and the president have already introduced major savings over the last two years.

"Where are the cuts? They're in bills that you, Mr. Speaker, have voted for," she said on the House floor.

She specifically pointed to cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which included $917 billion in cuts over the next 10 years.

- CNN's Tom Cohen and Dana Bash contributed to this report.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Mitch McConnell • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Defense, tax loopholes, derivative loopholes, senate and congress benefits, their salaries., so many.,

    December 11, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. FactCheck

    First cut: end all financial subsidies to Kentucky. Second cut: end all welfare to members of the Senate (particularly those from Kentucky). Next!

    December 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Here's a thought, McConnell. YOU tell the President what YOU want cut (so all America will know and understand - afterall it is YOUR party who is insisting on cuts) and President Obama can get back to you with a yea or nay. Deal?

    December 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. v_mag

    Right wingers, see if you can follow this:

    We get worried about the deficit, so naturally, we lay off federal employees, stop unemployment benefits and cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
    The people we laid off and the people on SS now have less money to spend, so businesses start making less profit.
    With the safety net cut, more people wind up in the emergency room, which is vastly more expensive than preventive care and doctor's office visits, and those bills are not getting paid. Hospitals have to raise prices in other areas to subsidize emergency rooms.
    The government gets less and less tax revenue, since people aren't working and the housing market falls, due to foreclosures and bad credit. Naturally, the government cuts more "waste" while keeping subsidies for agribusiness and corporate tax loopholes.
    Broke and out of work folks get desperate, and some turn to crime. Others riot in the streets. But we've cut fire and police protection, so more damage gets done to property, and there is no money to fix things.
    When a window gets broken out, vandals think it's okay to break all of them, and the property damage escalates.
    Gangs roam the streets and neighborhoods deteriorate.
    The rich are fine in their gated communities, private schools, and telecommuting environments. For awhile, at least.
    Eventually, the military are called out to wrest control from the mob. Congress gives the president sweeping powers to quell riots, and Constitutional rule is just about over.

    America is now a 3rd world country. Is that really what you wanted?

    December 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Data Driven

    Uh, you first, McConnell. Do please elucidate what you guys mean by "medical savings" in your latest proposal, which you have so far failed to do. That's just one example.

    December 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "He pointed to a number of federally-funded programs that he considers wasteful spending, including a project at the University of California at Davis, where researchers built robotic squirrels to examine why the mammals are willing to confront rattlesnakes, their main predators, in the wild.

    The project was awarded a grant worth $390,000 by the National Science Foundation in 2010, according to the university. "

    These are the same people who complain that "taxing the rich isn't enough"...and yet here he is complaining abotu $390,000 while Big Oil received $4,000,000,000 per year while reporting record profits during a devastating global recession. McConnell just filibustered his own bll to raise the debt ceiling because his bluff got called. The reality is this: The GOP is not serious about this. They want one thing and on thing only and that is to screw Medicare and SS into the ground while protecting the fiscal and economic policies that have redistributed the nation's wealth upwards for the past 60 years. The ONLY reason McConnell is making the demands is because the GOP doesn't want to be on record as the ones demanding the cuts to Medicare and SS...he's playing a game of chicken trying to get the Dems to put it on the table first, so the GOP can then run around claiming it was the Dems who wanted to kill Medicare and SS.

    December 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. v_mag

    "Until the president gets specific about cuts, nobody should trust Democrats to put a dime in new revenue toward real deficit reduction or to stop their shakedown of the taxpayers at the top 2%," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.
    -–
    Nobody should trust Democrats???? "Shakedown" of the top 2%???? Surely you jest, Turtle Man. You not only look absurd, every word out of your mouth is absurd, too.

    December 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. nceeno

    Spending cuts? Who the hell wants those?
    We've all grown accustomed to living high on the hog and I demand it continue. Screw that stupid GOP for standing in the way of our good time and so what if our kids have to some day foot the bill. Not our problem is it?
    Who wants to be fiscally responsible? Before I die, I am going to load up on credit card debt. I won't even have to pay it off but get to stick the bill to those that actually are stupid enough to work in this "gimme free money" society we now have.
    I'm on a mission to see how much free stuff I can get at taxpayer expense, even if I am not going to use it.
    Love you guys! Love the country you all voted for. A bailout for everyone. Even China is getting in on your tax money.
    How much are they subsidizibng a Volt for now? Damn, I could get one for almost nothing and then blow off the payments. I'll bet you even have a program that will make my payments.

    December 11, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    ""The truth is he and his Democratic allies simply refuse to be pinned down on any spending cuts," McConnell argued. "

    The truth is, the ball is in your court on that. No givesy-backsies.

    December 11, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McConnell is the same man who said his "only job was to make Obama a one term President" now I demand know how he planned to do that before Obama names anything. When is this angry old mans term up, it's time to send him packing, he's about as useless as he comes. YOUNG REPUBLICANS WHERE ARE YOU, STEP UP AND GET RID OF THESE OLD ANGRY WHITE MEN, THEY ARE KILLING YOUR PARTY.

    December 11, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    after being loopy enough to filibuster his bill..McConnell should just sit back red faced and be quiet no matter what happens.

    December 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. David

    Obama has laid out his plan, if you don't like it either give concrete suggests on what you would cut or get out of the way. The repubs are simply trying to avoid any soundbites with specific cuts so they can later try to blame the dems for their demands.

    December 11, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Tommy G

    Cut spending??? Obama??? The Democrats??? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! They are totally incapable of doing it. It is how they maintain their voter base.

    They will trot out their usual ads about starving old people and babies while continuing their money gifts to the unions by the billions and waste even more on bogus green energy failures.

    December 11, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Kelby in Houston, TX

    I'LL GIVE YOU SOME CUTS!
    -Military spending
    -Oil subsidies
    -Corporate tax breaks
    -Congressional salaries and benefits

    December 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Jeff in Virginia

    Typical McConnell acting like a typical politician.... painting the 'other side' with his own weakness.

    Like many others here, I would like to see McConnell lay out what HE would cut. He won't, of course.

    December 11, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. 2hheels2

    Why do they think the President should negotiate with himself. The last time they made medicare stronger they bashed him with it during the election. No sane person would put the cuts out for the Republicans. Let them hang themselves with how bad they want to take it to the middle class.

    December 11, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Rick McDoomsday

    Part of Obama's plan at total control of our nation is to cut defense as low as he can and keep allowing the lower class to live off the rest of us taxpayers so he can build up his base of takers. The dictatorship is almost complete so why am I the only one that sees what is really going onhere??

    December 11, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    Trust Repubs. ? "Reagen proved Deficits don't matter". "We'll be greeted as liberators", "The Clinton Tax Increases to 39% will be a Job-Killer"," Mushroom Cloud", 'Don't worry about el Quida, China is our threat", 'Iraq oil will pay for the war","The George W. Tax cuts will create millions of jobs".

    December 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Yonni

    Dear senator you and your party have been preaching a spending cut since when? eventhough, you find it convenience to spend more when ever your party is in power (to name one nation building somewhere outside of the US). I assume you must know what is to be cut. Why don't you tell us and let’s start bargain. Obama told you he needs a tax increase on the top 2% percent because that is his priorities, please name yours and give us actual numbers and specific cut you would like to see.

    December 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    After having to filibuster his own bill last week, and after declaring war on Pres. Obama during the first term, McConnell is the best spokesperson for the Republican Party. Who leads the party, anyway?

    December 11, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    "We are still waiting," McConnell said."

    Yes. Yes we are, Mr. McConnell. We are waiting on your party to come up with concrete solutions not talking point idiocy. Can't you folks can at least TRY to put on your big boy pants and give us an inkling of what cuts - specific cuts with dollar amount figures - your party is interested in throwing out to we the little people.

    December 11, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Ken in MD

    The GOP already said where they want to make cuts. They want to raise the minimum age for medicare and social security, while maintaining the tax cuts for the rich. Now they're waiting for Obama to put something more reasonable forward. Funny, it used to be that Congress negotiated the bill within its own body and passed it, then the President got to decide whether to sign it or not.

    December 11, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Donna

    2hheels2
    Why do they think the President should negotiate with himself. The last time they made medicare stronger they bashed him with it during the election.
    ------–

    Too funny.... Cutting Medicare payments to doctors & hospitals for the old in order to fund free medical coverage for others did NOT strengthen Medicare. Those cuts will reduce the number of doctors that will take medicare patients and they will receieve LESS care and longer waits to see doctors, assuming they can even find a doctor that will take the peanuts Medicare pays to see patients.

    December 11, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell want to cut everything and don't want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts on the top 2% of income earners. Does everyone know how much money the government lost over the years of the Bush tax cut. But the government still trying to pay the same bills with less money. IT CAN'T BE DONE. Everybody hold on lets go over the so call CLIFF. Congress and the senate knew about this fiscal cliff for a year or two this just didn't happen last month. Republican Congress through that Romney was going to win and Rep Boehner put the fiscal cliff debate on hold. Go President Obama

    December 11, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    So they think the President is supposed to do their jobs now? ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Why do we have the House and Senate if they aren't going to do anything?

    December 11, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
1 2 3 4