Boehner unsure if spending cuts will hurt economy
March 3rd, 2013
11:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Boehner unsure if spending cuts will hurt economy

(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner says he doesn't know if the forced spending cuts that began taking effect Friday will actually have a negative impact, although he argued in a recent op-ed that the sequester would threaten "U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more."

"I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not," he said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work."

Boehner and President Barack Obama were among those who issued dire warnings about the $85 billion in cuts that are now supposed to take place over the next seven months, the remainder of the fiscal year. Both sides ratcheted up the rhetoric in the weeks before the sequester deadline, March 1, hoping to build pressure on the other side to compromise and reach a deal to avoid the cuts.

During his interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Boehner was asked if he had been exaggerating when talking before the deadline about the consequences of the spending cuts.

"I am concerned about its impact on our economy and its impact on our military. Listen, we've known about this problem for 16 months," he said, blaming Democrats and Obama for not acting. "And here we are at the - beyond the 11th hour, looking at each other. Without having fixed it."

When Obama held a press conference Friday at the White House, he also didn't sound as pessimistic about the impact of the cuts as he and his administration did before the deadline.

"What's important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. The pain, though, will be real. Beginning this week, many middle-class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways," he said.

Asked if the president had been exaggerating his claims about the sequester, Boehner pointed to the example of Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying that teachers in West Virginia were already being laid off because of the spending cuts. Duncan's claim has since been debunked.

"There's a lot of questions about how the White House is handling the communications on this," Boehner said.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. jack

    Yes, we need cuts but this crazy, ruthless, not thought thru approach will cause damage. Unquestionably. This is the Tea Party platform: Cut anywhere, anything but cut. That's like making cuts from you household budget and just willy-nilly cutting things–food, gas–whatever.

    March 3, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    If Speaker Boehner isn't sure spending cuts will hurt the economy, why is he playing Russian roulette with the economic welfare of this nation? Revitalizing the economy and bringing down the unemployment rate should be the top priorities before tackling the budget deficit.

    March 3, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Logic N LA

    If furloughing workers, cutting back on spending with defense contractors, cutting benfits for welfare and medical needs doesn't effect the economy, then neither would be takign the equivilent of pennies from millionaires in taxes. Boehner does not have a clue!

    March 3, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Did Boehner get Cantor pemission to speak?

    Wake up America! Vote these bonehead republicans out of office in "2014"

    We can get things back to the Clinton years and even better. But first you need to wake up !

    March 3, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. CanadaONE

    "I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not,"

    and this is someone that you voted for?

    you need to vote in politicians that at least have grade 10

    March 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. 1Dem

    "I don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not," he said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work." - Republican House Speaker John Boehner

    Speaker Boehner does not know. He does not quite understand. He does not care.

    March 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. plain&simple

    What does the Speaker know??? Really!!! When was the last time he has said or done anything that shows anything close to wanting to resolve any issues whatsoever?

    March 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Past two weeks local news showing Old white folks protesting against spending cuts is the same people voting for republican elections after elections
    I hope this time they learn a lesson

    March 3, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. jnffarrell1

    The sequester is a perfect compromise. Red districts are gored by cutting civilian and contractor bloat. Blue districts are gored by cutting support for local services that should be authorized and paid for by local government. The outcome is that national defense will be strengthened and local government will wake up to its responsibility. By the time the sequester ends, Parkinson's Law will be reversed and Jarvis will be turning over in his grave.

    March 3, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. sammy

    Congress to take two-week vacation on March 22, even though the country's money runs out on March 27. This is what the taxpayers are getting for their money. NO work from Congress. They are on vacation 70% of the year in 2013.

    March 3, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. scott

    Any cut is better than no cut. Congrats to the Right, they will show that it is possible to get Obama under control even with just 1/3 of the government. The founding fathers put limits on all branches of government which I am thankful. We dont need a dictator as President. Mr. President compromise and get things moving, simply stuff. Otherwise your purse strings will get tied and nothing you want will happen.

    March 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. ST

    Hey folks, try to think this way. Even if it is a small cut on your finger, arm, leg or any part of your body, for sure you will feel the pain. How come that this Bonehead doesn't think even if it is few people being layed off won't hurt the economy?? What about calling it "narrow thinking"???

    March 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. sammy

    A budget reduction plan being drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan includes a proposal to create a voucher-like system, despite a 2012 election promise by the GOP not to change the program for today's seniors.

    March 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Name lynn

    Boehner will say anything, yet what is the president is saying an during about the budgets cuts that the republicans wanting obama to sign.

    March 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. cbr

    Just another ridiculous statement which shows that Speaker Boehner is not calling the shots. He has not done the research or talked to economists and others to discover what they are saying about sequester and the effect it will have upon the economy and the american people. As long as the rich do not have to pay more Speaker Boehner is sitting pretty. Where was he when Congress was spending the surplus to pay for two wars. The Republicans did not care about that. The surplus was spent and the deficit just grew and grew

    He was not afraid to spend money during the Bush years when we were fighting a war using our surplus built up during the Clinton years. Now we cannot afford social and domestic programs because Congress has been funding these wars.

    Sen. Boehner needs to take the advice he gave to the Senate yesterday. He needs to educate himself and in fact, he needed to educate himself about the effects of this sequester. The economy will be hurt and Congress will just say they did not know that the Country will feel the effects and the 47% will be losing even more..I was ver disappointed the David Gregory did not follow up on the Speaker's statement.

    Of course, members of Congress will not be hurt at all. They will not take a pay cut or even agree to give back some of their pay to the government.or to charities which are keeping people clothed, fed and housed. It is just so easy to vote in Washington because members cannot feel the pain.

    March 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Repubs know damn well these cuts will hurt the economy!

    If you lay off people (either directly or indirectly), the result will be lower tax revenues, since the unemployed don't pay taxes.These laid-off people will also be spending significantly less on basic needs and will postpone any unnecessary expenses; this will hurt the manufacturer and retailers of those good and services. The laid-off will also collect unemployment, which will put added strain on that system, as well as other social safety net programs.

    Repubs have been pursuing this strategy of bankrupting our country so that the only thing we spend money on is the military and minimal infrastructure. They want a general populace living in poverty, desperate to take any kind of work at any kind of wage. And with our war machine, these desperates will be more than happy to join and fight in future Republican wars, thankful to take any kind of work in an effort to feed themselves and their families.

    In short, the Repubs are trying to eliminate the American Middle Class; their eyes are focused on emerging foreign economies, with the long-term goal of changing our workforce into the slave-wage laborers of tomorrow.

    March 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. bobden

    Bonehead doesn't know what it will do but he wants it anyway?
    Sounds like my kids at age 5.

    March 3, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Stan

    That's what we like to know! House Leader that is "unsure" and confident Great Mix

    March 3, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. RINO Bill

    I used to believe that Nancy Pelosi was the worst Speaker of the House and that Denny Haster was the most clueless and incompetent Speaker.

    No longer!

    John Boehner has managed, beyond all reason, to combine the worst elements of the two previous speakers and then taken those deficiencies to a whole new level.

    Way to go John! You've lowered the bar beyond all expectations.

    March 3, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Yanni

    How Boehner expected to know? He and his party don’t have regards for math, reason or reality. They are driven my mindless mobs

    March 3, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. rsamps2

    Mr. Boehner had better be hopeful. Its pretty much his last chance. Mr. Boehner & his Republican congressional representatives have repeatedly proven to be the most inept, obstinate, arrogant, pathetic politicians ever to set foot into Washington D.C. Its about time they learn to play nice with the Senate, the President and conduct the people's business without obstructing it for personal, selfish political gain & gamesmanship. Mr. Boehner needs to turn off his "friends" at fox "news". They're confusing him.

    March 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. geewhocares

    All he is sure of is that it won't affect him. As for everyone else, well, tough cookies.

    March 3, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Betsy

    Uh, and once more, HE DOESN'T CARE. Too bad that a lot of folks out there can't get it, " the Republicans do not care about the rest of the country ".

    March 3, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Getoverit

    Liberal damage control is in full swing here today:
    “Uh-oh, the president blew it, what do we do? We can’t hold him responsible because all of our past rhetoric and talking points will be rendered moot. Hhmmm…. I know, lets blame the Republicans for agreeing with Obama! Yeah, that’s it. It’s the Republicans fault for NOT obstructing the sequester. Whew! Wasn’t sure if we could spin this one, but we’re good now."

    March 3, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Jill-IN

    Boehner is unsure but also doesn't care if the spending cuts hurt the economy, In his own words 18 months ago when sequestration passed, he got 98% of what he wanted and he loves it!

    March 3, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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