Boehner 'not confident at all' on budget deal
September 11th, 2012
03:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Boehner 'not confident at all' on budget deal

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner said he's "not confident at all" that Congress can reach a budget deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of this year.

On Tuesday morning Moody's, a credit rating agency, released a report threatening to lower the U.S. government's AAA credit rating if Congress didn't agree to a major deficit reduction package. Asked by CNN how confident he was that congressional negotiators could avoid that action Boehner replied, "I'm not confident at all."

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The fiscal cliff is the combination of the automatic cuts to federal programs scheduled to go into effect in January and the tax increases that would result from expiration of all of the "Bush era" tax cuts at the end of this year.

The speaker maintained that House Republicans already passed legislation to replace those spending cuts and extend all the current tax rates.

"Listen the House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs," Boehner said, and shifted the blame to Democrats, adding, "The Senate at some point has to act. And on both of these – where is the President? Where's the leadership? Absent without leading."

Although Moody's report specified it would consider cutting the government's rating if an agreement didn't emerge in the next year, an aide to Boehner told CNN that the speaker's comments reflected his confidence level about reaching a deal by the end of 2012. Without any serious bipartisan negotiations taking place, both parties are expected to return to the issue in the lame duck session of Congress in mid-November.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said there were some discussions going on now, but conceded "there has not been a great deal of movement' on any potential budget deal.

But Hoyer was more upbeat about a deal emerging - after the election.

"I am optimistic that once this election is over that the patriotism of members – Republicans and Democrats – will come and summon them to coming to an agreement on the most important question confronting this nation and that is putting this nation on a more fiscally sustainable credible path."

Even after Congress reached a deal in the summer of 2011 to raise the debt limit and agreed to a series of spending cuts, Standard & Poor's, one of Moody's rival credit rating agencies, downgraded for the first time the U.S. credit rating.

As part of the automatic cuts, the military would especially be hit hard–-a measure both parties say they want to prevent. A spokeswoman for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign said the president "agrees that we should avoid the automatic defense cuts."

"That's why he has called on Congressional Republicans to help prevent them with a balanced plan that asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share," Lis Smith said in a statement.

The president's plan has some support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Responding to Boehner's comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was "disappointed."

"I think we have to look at the glass being half-full, not half-empty all the time. I'm confident we will reach some kind of an arrangement," Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill. "We will continue with the middle class tax cut that the Senate passed. It's much, much too early to give up."

Asked what made him so optimistic about a deal, Reid pointed to what he sees as dwindling momentum for the tea party.

"I've been here for a while, and I believe once the elections are over, the tea party strength will be significantly weakened," he said.

On her part, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement, calling on Boehner to keep the chamber in session until they solve the problem.

"Democrats are committed to staying in session as long as it takes to ensure certainty for the middle class and growth for the economy," she said. "The ball is in Speaker Boehner's court."

- CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • House • John Boehner
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. @GuileOfTheGods

    just sayin
    if the democrats won't cut spending them give the lefties what they want, a $1.3 trillion tax hike on the 50% that pay nothing in this country. time for these tax free loaders to belly up to the bar and start paying their fair share to live in this country. can't afford it? maybe you should head over to canada or cuba then. they love dead weight there.

    What are you talking about??? 50% pays nothing "to the country"? Just to humor you, I won't point out numerous taxes that everyday people pay whether you have a job or not, but I'll just pretend for a few seconds I'm as dumb as you.
    If person A makes $0.00 a year, how can they pay 20% of that? What's 20% of 0, kids? ZERO! I'm sorry you're jealous that some people can't afford to live, but hey, that shouldn't stop you from insulting Canada or Cuba. Perfect example of rich white selfish American.

    September 11, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Amused

    Congress holds the purse strings, and all spending bills must originate in the house. So to complain that the Senate hasn't done anything is stupid. Obama can only work to broker a deal within congress. You want to change the fiscal environment in Washington? Get out and vote. Vote for people who will not choose to consider compromise a dirty word, who will work across the aisle, not simply "Compromise is them doing what I say". Today of all days should remind us that we're in this together. This is not an us vs them situation. We will succeed together, or we will fail together. Period.

    September 11, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. oregonian101

    Of course he isn't confident. The Tea movement people in his party is directing the show. He's only a mouth piece now.

    September 11, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. California Gary

    truth hurts.......I've come to the conclusion that you actually believe that "truth" does in fact "hurt".........and that's why you stray so far from it in your posts.

    September 11, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. SafeJourney

    VOTE, these repub, party of NO, tea party obstructionist OUT of office now before they completely destroy our great country

    September 11, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Doreen Johnson

    Guile – perhaps you should be less insulting to other countries. Since we in Canada are way ahead of you in just about every aspect, perhaps you should keep your inaccurate thoughts to yourself.

    September 11, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. B.

    Boehner and the Republicans have not been confident about anything in the last four years..

    Do you think that it has anything to do with the fact that they have – Blocked Everything the President has attempted to do with the Only goal of theirs to defeat him?

    What a cynical and repressive bunch the GOP are!

    September 11, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    Here's a compromise that would be good for the USA:

    First, let ALL of the tax cuts expire, going back to the Clinton era tax rates. The wealthy would pay more; the lower income would pay some. The lowest rate would increase to 15% and many tax credits would be reduced. This country thrived with those rates and can do so again. Then (later) work out a comprehensive tax overhaul.

    Second, work out a spending agreement that would fund more of the military spending, for the short term (as opposed to the sequester), and also infrastructure spending for highways. A drastic cut in spending at this time would be harmful. Make long-range, thought-out plans to reduce spending on the military; those companies could build high-speed rail, for example. Quit using military spending as a jobs program; we out spend the next 8 or 10 countries combined, while they build up their infrastructure.

    Also, work out a farm bill that aids farmers, not well-off agri-business.

    September 11, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    AJ 513

    Boehner can't even get his own side of the aisle together, let alone work with the other side to get anything done.

    Yep. And for some strange reason, Gopers think Romney will be able to get it done where Boehner couldn't.

    September 11, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. v_mag

    Well, maybe if Congress had been to work in the past 4 years they might not be threatening to crush the country now. All the President can do is suggest things to Congress and sign or not sign when bills come across his desk. Boozy Boehner has primary responsibility to get bills passed and sent to the Senate. He has been asleep (or drunk) at the wheel for 4 years. Now it's time to pay the piper, and he's "not confident". Therefore, he should resign. He's screwed up the job of Speaker.

    September 11, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. pkrbkr

    The only hope is to get Boehner out of office, as well as ANYONE who has signed the Grover Norquist pledge! That's where the problem begins.....Obama/Biden 2012 Forward

    September 11, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. rrd

    Jim Hahn

    Republicans aren't willing to compromise. They put forth a take it or leave it proposal that the President has made it crystal clear that he won't sign so where is the negotiation? Where is the compromise? The Republicans better start budging or better start packing.


    The republicans won't compromise = bad
    The president won't compromise = ok

    September 11, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    America has added 4.5 million private sector jobs since the Obama took office
    Stock market back to 13,254.29, which has saved peoples 401K
    Here’s what Bush freefall left us yes America is better off today!

    Aug 2008 – 334,000 net JOBS LOST
    Sep 2008 – 458,000 net JOBS LOST
    Oct 2008 – 554,000 net JOBS LOST
    Nov 2008 – 728,000 net JOBS LOST
    Dec 2008 – 673,000 net JOBS LOST
    Jan 2009 – 779,000 net JOBS LOST

    September 11, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. dalla

    The Senate has not passed a budget in about 3-4 years. They certainly have no credibility. The House of Representatives has passed a budget more then once in this time. How the Democrats can still blame the Republicans for their own failure to act is the height of hypocrisy.

    September 11, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    @truth hurts – this is for all the brain dead lefties in here that keep claiming the country was down graded because of the tea party. it was down graded, and will be down graded again, because the clueless obama and his leftist democrats are hell bent on spending this country into bankruptcy. greece here we come. and the miniscule $80 billion in taxes from the rich isn't going to save the country so please, enough with the worthless class warfare rhetoric to mask your insane spending.
    This is for all the single-cell righties out there believe your post, here's the TRUTH. It WAS downgraded because the TP's REFUSED to compromise. The POTUS is NOT spending us into bankruptcy – the GOP's $11 TRILLION – of which Dubya added $6.4 TRILLION in 8 yrs accounts for over 66% of the current debt. Basic economics calls for the lender of last resort to stimulate a stalled economy. That's what the Stimulus was supposed to do. It was only slightly more than the required GOP-initiated TARP bailout to the banks in 08. The Stimulus stopped the Depression, but did not bring us back to prior levels. Dubya's tax cuts for the job producers have simply not produced jobs – at least not in the US. They need to go..
    And for what it's worth – since the Repugs are so good at inventing "truth" to fit the message – the problems with Greece were caused by conservative party fiscal excess, much as they were in the US. Please check your FACTS!

    September 11, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Ga.Democrat

    Boehner is held hostage by Grover Norquist and the Tea Party. He would never cross them to do what is right for our country. Time to vote the obstructionist GOP/Tea Party out, so our country can once again thrive.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 11, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. just sayin

    What are you talking about??? 50% pays nothing "to the country"? Just to humor you, I won't point out numerous taxes that everyday people pay whether you have a job or not, but I'll just pretend for a few seconds I'm as dumb as you.
    keep up fool. federal income taxes... almost half pay nothing. a large percentage get money back they never paid in which is essentially a welfare payment. local sales go to state or local tax authorities, not the federal governent.

    If person A makes $0.00 a year, how can they pay 20% of that? What's 20% of 0, kids? ZERO! I'm sorry you're jealous that some people can't afford to live, but hey, that shouldn't stop you from insulting Canada or Cuba. Perfect example of rich white selfish American.
    wow, you're a real rocket scientist. all of that nearly 50% do not make $0. they make a lot more and get away with paying nothing in federal income taxes. you wanna live here then contribute your far share. i work for my money only to have it stolen by the government and given to you deadbeats and slackers with your manufactured disabilities. maybe you should head to that socialist paradise called cuba? i hear they have the best medical system in the world.

    September 11, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Logic N LA

    Let's make this clear- It is Congress, not the Presiden,t they say will cause the credit rating to drop. This is the same thing that had S & P drop us from thier highest rating.
    It's time to put blame where it belongs- in the hands of Congress.

    September 11, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Joi Gibson

    Well there's some confidence for you. Nice going Boehner. At least try to act like you can do your job. You people have been on hiatus for most of the year. It is time to do your jobs and don't leave until it is done. And don't even try to blame this on the President. After all, you got 98% of what you wanted. Get your little tea pots in line.


    September 11, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Jane can be confident that we will vote you OUT of office in Nov....

    September 11, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. truth hurts

    California Gary
    truth hurts.......I've come to the conclusion that you actually believe that "truth" does in fact "hurt".........and that's why you stray so far from it in your posts.
    and yet you offer no examples of where i stray from it.... which means you have nothing to argue against it. but i already knew that. the truth only hurts those that run from it. stop running.

    September 11, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. teej

    "Pride goes before destruction." These guys need to man up and get some work done.

    September 11, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. RGD

    Due to stupid filibuster rule, Senate can't pass anything with 60 votes, let alone GOP's obstruction in House aka party of "NO". Democrats have been too willing to compromise on spending cuts but GOP are too afraid to put up tax increases for billionaires due to Godfather Norquist's threats. That's why congress currently has 10 percent approval rating as compared to Obama's 51 percent. Time to clean the house this November and eliminate filibuster rule in Senate in January, 2013. Elections have consequences and if Romney can't win this November in this kind of economy, GOP party might as well as pack in and go home and don't let door hit you on the way out.

    September 11, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. John

    It real easy John Boehner It cal Compromise and NOT to try and have everything the Republican way. You got to take a little and give a little. If you Republican Control Congress get America dept rating any worst ,than start pack your bag because you are gone.

    September 11, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. lolo

    Of course he is saying this now because they have already planned it. They would rather let us go over the cliff to regain power. Listen up Boehner, whether President Obama wins or not you, McConnell, Ryan and Cantor will be gone. You are the wimpiest house leader I have ever seen. Nancy Pelosi has way more cajones than you.

    September 11, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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