Boehner, McConnell urge Obama to name spending cuts
December 11th, 2012
12:20 PM ET
1 year 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.

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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. GI Joe

    Over the Cliff !!!!! Let the cuts put forth by the sequestor take place. PERIOD.

    December 11, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Maybe, Mitch McConnell is afraid to put out his own list of proposed cuts because he knows that he would have to filibuster it.

    December 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Obama isn't cutting anything........on the contrary, he has every intention of squandering another trillion dollars, on NEW spending, that accomplishes NOTHING!

    December 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Mike

    Oddly, the republicans are screaming for Obama to name the cuts yet they supported a candidate who refused to explain his cuts. They are being very hypocritical and if they aren't careful they will suffer more losses in 2 years.

    December 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Thomas

    @freedom
    Obama's dictatorial style will not be accepted without a battle. We are still a democracy, another fact he doesn't seem to grasp. We know he wants to change that, but he won't be able to. He will do great damage to our country, yes, but he will not succeed in destroying the principles this nation was founded on and the memory of those who died, so we can have the privilege of freedom – including holding our elected officials accountable – all the way to the president, himself.

    ======

    Yet
    you supported Mitt Romney , who's five sons avoided military service . And GW Bush who recklessly and irresponsibly committed so many to memory.

    You insult the meaning of Freedom , I suggest you change you name to Cheeseburger . One can not have freedom without justice .

    December 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Tony

    Sorry, Republicans, you lost the election. You name your concessions first.

    December 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. rs

    Funny, during the election (you know, the one the GOP LOST), their candidate refused to discuss reality-based cuts at all. Sure the kooks of the party said they'd do away with the Departments of Commerce, Labor, and Education. Sure, they want to "privatize" (read: kill) Social Security and Medicare.

    There it is: Wreck the government; impoverish the 98%; oh, and give the rich ANOTHER tax cut.

    Enough! Send McConnell and Boehner to Gitmo!

    December 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Yonni

    For now Republicans are lucky that they depend on uninformed or misinformed people they don’t see the irony on their mantra or proposal. If the Republican Party continued with the same path, the problem will be the party will not have any future because people are most likely to become informed than to remain the same.

    December 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    If the spending cuts that would be enacted by sequestration are a fiscal cliff that we are supposed to want to avoid, then why have the Republicans put out a proposal with a larger total of spending cuts, none of which are in Defense?

    December 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Daniel Jacob

    I find it amazing that the Republicans have the NSF robo-squirrels project in their cross-hairs. The project sounds interesting, it was likely competed through peer review, it must train students in science and engineering, and it costs peanuts in the grander scheme of things. Republican Party = anti-science.

    December 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. PJ

    "...shakedown of the taxpayers at the top 2%....". ????????????????
    ***
    Reminds me of Joe Barton's "apology" to BP for President Obama's demand that they set up an account to aid those
    affected by the oil spill.
    Barton was wrong, and it cost him a Chairmanship
    McConnell is wrong and I hope it costs him his Senate seat.
    Maybe he should just keep offering bills, then fillibustering them. What a joke.

    December 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. freedom

    @ Thomas
    Obama is disintegrating the freedoms in our wonderful country every moment. He promised this when he was elected in 2008. He said he was going to fundamentally transform America. Romney is a fine man with a beautiful family – I would have voted for any Republican candidate to dismantle the un-American agenda of this president. The problem lies with Obama and his supporters – not his opponents. Can't twist this to blame anyone else. And what kind of a leader threatens the citizens of the country at Christmas that all their taxes are going up, while vacationing on our tax dollars in a luxury resort in Hawaii? Not one of integrity.

    December 11, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. NameChi

    All those who want cuts,think about this,those cuts could be your Job!!!!

    December 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Mitt Robme_DRAFT_DODGING, TAX_EVADING_Merchandise Discounted AT 47%

    Let the GW BUSH TAX CUTS DIE A PERMANENT DEATH!!!!

    It's temporary for ONLY 10yrs but our so called "job creators" and their GOP lackeys want to make it permanent and call it a tax increase because President Obama wants to kill it for just the top 2%...NOT SO FAST BUDDY!!!

    President Obama is being nice; left alone with me....I WILL KILL THE WHOLE GW BUSH TAX CUTS FOR ALL AMERICANS!!!!

    LET US GO OVER THR CLIFF...CUT DEFENSE SPENDING & MAKE OUR SO-CALLED "JOB CREATORS" PAY MORE!!!!!!

    December 11, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. john2397

    John Boehner and Obama will complete the financial packet by tomorrow. The silent features of the packet are: (i) Keep existing tax rates for income up to 500,000 (ii) All loop holes for corporations and individuals making more than 1 million will be slashed (iii) Defense will cut by $200 billion (iv) Medicare premium of individual making more than $150,000 will go up by $100 per month. (iv) Medicare age will be raised to 67 after year 2015 of people who are 60 years or less on Jan 2013 (v) Social Security, Medical, welfare, food stamps, mortgage interest, charitable deduction etc will be discussed by a joint committee next year and changes will be implemented in the year 2014. (vi) All corporations will have to pay minimum tax of 15% (vii) Deficit will be cut by at least $500 billion starting from year 2013. Looks like Tea-Party Congressmen will cry too loud, but there will not be any one to hear them. Some liberals will also make noise but Obama and Boehner will enjoy their lunch-dinners and GOLF.

    December 11, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Mitt Robme_DRAFT_DODGING, TAX_EVADING_Merchandise Discounted AT 47%

    Where are the president's spending cuts?

    Here is your Answer – CUT THIS John Boehner! DEFENSE BUDGET & ALL the CONGRESSMEN salaries, estacodes & free healthcare

    December 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    Defense cut, Cut congress salary by 40%, ( working days less than 200) cut oil companies subsidy

    December 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Obama is disintegrating the freedoms in our wonderful country every moment. He promised this when he was elected in 2008. He said he was going to fundamentally transform America. Romney is a fine man with a beautiful family – I would have voted for any Republican candidate to dismantle the un-American agenda of this president. The problem lies with Obama and his supporters – not his opponents. Can't twist this to blame anyone else. And what kind of a leader threatens the citizens of the country at Christmas that all their taxes are going up, while vacationing on our tax dollars in a luxury resort in Hawaii? Not one of integrity."

    There is not enough yawn in the universe to properly respond to your post. However, I will give you what I can: YAWN.

    December 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Ferret out the BS

    It's time for some adult supervision in the congressional sandbox!

    December 11, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. 2012liberal

    Where's yr loopholes boehner?

    December 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. PaulCat

    Did Boehner or McConnell urge Romney to name his spending cuts? By the way, what are your spending cuts?

    McConnell, did you see the Daily Show last night? You sure made an a__ of yourself.

    December 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Rick McDoomsday

    the senator and speaker told us that Obama would be a ONE TERM president.......look what has happened now..they have no idea how to deal with him. He will continue his attack on the rich while letting the middle class and poor run rampart all over the country. Why am I the only one that see this???

    December 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. linda jean

    It would be wonderful xmas present to "ALL" Americans who voted for our President to start a RECALL on the GOP speaker of house Mr. Boember sorry misspell his name. A vote of no confidence in the GOP! Lindajean

    December 11, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Emerson

    Memo to GOP: Name the cuts that you will agree to (other than social security and Medicare). You seem not to realize that you are struggling in quicksand on this issue. the more you struggle and put up ridiculous arguments, the more damage you are doing to your party.

    December 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "It's time for some adult supervision in the congressional sandbox!"

    Too late. The corporate kitties mistook it for their litter.

    December 11, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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