Boehner announces goal of balancing budget in 10 years
January 22nd, 2013
07:29 PM ET
10 years ago

Boehner announces goal of balancing budget in 10 years

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday that he supports a plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years, a goal that could require massive cuts to spending or major reforms to entitlement programs.

Boehner made the announcement to members of his Republican conference in a closed-door meeting before describing his plan to reporters.

"Chairman Paul Ryan has worked hard with the Budget Committee to outline the kind of reforms we'd put in place to bring real fiscal responsibility here to Washington," the speaker said. "And I think the American people understand you can't continue to spend money that you don't have. It's time for us to come to a plan that will in fact balance the budget over the next 10 years. It's our commitment to the American people."

Previously, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposed a budget that took more than 20 years to bring the budget into balance, meaning a 10-year plan would likely include significantly more spending cuts or reforms to entitlement programs. This is unlikely to sit well with Senate Democrats. Ryan's previous plan was the target of Democratic attacks for its proposed cuts to Medicare and other government programs, particularly during Ryan's run as the GOP vice presidential candidate.

Boehner was speaking the day before the House is slated to vote on a temporary measure increasing the debt ceiling for three months. Some conservative Republicans have voiced opposition to a short-term measure that doesn't include spending cuts, which they say must be paired with an increase in the debt limit.

The short-term debt limit increase proposed by House Republicans mandates that both chambers of Congress pass a budget in the next four months. Otherwise, House GOP leaders have warned, members of Congress will go without pay.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said Sunday that a Senate budget plan is in the works but cautioned that Republicans might not like it since the measure will include tax increases.

Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp was critical. "Raising the debt ceiling for a budget to be named later is to me something I'm probably won't be able to vote for."

On Tuesday, Boehner told House Republicans that "passing a short-term hike buys time for the House and Senate both to pass a budget," according to a GOP source in the meeting.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House said the president would support a short-term debt limit increase, saying it "lifts the immediate threat of default." That was something of a reversal for Obama, who at a news conference last week warned that "we shouldn't be doing this on a one to three-month timeframe."

Boehner also said Tuesday that across-the-board spending cuts that were delayed when the fiscal cliff was averted at the beginning of the year would remain in place unless spending cuts and reforms are enacted.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who frequently breaks with GOP leaders, said he'll vote for the short-term debt ceiling increase, but he warned that conservatives plan to hold GOP leaders' feet to the fire on their pledge to pass a bill that balances the budget within a decade.

"They have caved every single time in the last two years, and I have made it very explicit to them that I am with them on this issue because I believe their statements that they're not going to cave again," Labrador said Wednesday, adding: "But if they cave again, they're going to have some problems in the House because there are a large number of members - Republican House members - who are very dissatisfied with what's happening."

Filed under: Budget • Congress • House of Representatives
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. CBP

    Speaker Boehner is not in control of his party. The budget that Mr. Ryan presented did not impress the voters yet this is the same budget going before Congress.

    Cutting all these programs will put the onus on the states. Many state legislatures will not vote to pay for them because this will mean higher taxes. If you are poor, have no health insurance, live in substandard housing, have a child with developmental delays, have a child who requires special needs, have families who cannot live on the salary of wage earner, etc. you will be out of luck. As long as the Republicans do not have to pay for these ideas they will vote for this new balanced budget. Of course many of these representatives tell you they believe in family values but that only means that their own families are entitled. Their salaries and their entitlements will keep them happy.

    January 22, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Pragmatic Man

    I'm shocked, rational action regarding an artificial crisis. It gives us extra time, but extra time for more partisan bickering? My expectations are below ground level.

    January 22, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. batjones

    CNN – Please clarify the Speaker's comment. Does the Speaker mean that Chairman Paul Ryan worked hard with the Budget Committee? Or does he mean that Chairman Paul Ryan worked hard with Republicans of the Budget Committee? This is an honest question which may shed greater insight to the budgetary problems. If House Republicans pass a budget that House Democrats can sign, then the Senate battle will be easy.

    January 22, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. rob

    I'm not sure I follow the republican logic of deep spending cuts or entitlement reform. When I hear of spending cuts it is always to "entitlement" programs that need funding cuts under the cover name of "reforms". Not the other big beast that is our military spending. This makes it sound like they would be willing to cut the programs they favor including military.

    January 22, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. wiseone

    When taxes are increased to support programs that citizens truly need, that is a sensible goal. it's things like the unnecessary Iraq war that causes and imbalance in our economy. You don't undo necessary entitlements to balance budgets. You make entitlements work by improving them , not eliminating them. Congress should get creative like private sector brainiacs like Gates and Johns to name a few. How about modifying foreign aid? Stop building military toys that never get used. Stop exploring Mars for life that obviously is not there? Save billions elsewhere and leave social security and medicare in place for our seniors.

    January 22, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Obama will have no part in fiscal responsibility. He wants to keep on spending, spending, spending. He is like a kid in a candy store, spending other people's money for the pure fun of it.

    January 22, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Larry L

    As a Democrat and a person of little faith in the motives behind the modern Republican Party I look at the Speaker's initiatives with skepticism. Still, the facts about our budget make it clear we must fix Medicare and Defense pork.

    For Medicare we need incentives for best medical practices and rewards or punishment for each individual's preventive medicine efforts. Our fat, lazy and spoiled population will dislike being required to pay more for their slovenly health practices. We must allow people to die who choose a lifestyle designed to produce premature death and chronic disease. Healthcare providers who profit from unnecessary procedures will resist but tort reform and tax breaks can easily replace the lost income.

    For Defense we need to completely move away from the concepts of great land armies, human-flown aircraft, and slow, antiquated surface ships designed for navel battles of the past. We need to fight effective cyber-wars, use space-based technology (defensive), master the collection and use of intelligence data, and transition towards more effective drones, robots, and technology-based special operations forces. Politicians need to look for DIFFERENT pork.

    January 22, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. Logic N LA

    Republicans want cuts but keep fighting returning the temporary tax cuts, even a limited amount, to a level before the 2000's spent us into a hole. Why are services for individuals where the cuts need to be made when military suppliers, drug manufacturers and those that rebuilt New Orleans made all the money we spent? Put temporary excise taxes on those profits to pay down the debt.

    January 22, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. mike 1200

    If he is so interseted in balancing the budget; then he would support Simpson-Bolwes or Sequestration, either of two would do what he wants in ten years. Since he is not "nothing to see here folks keep wallking." He wants to spend your tax dollars on what he wants not necessarily for what is best for the country.

    January 22, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. bcrunner

    Good! This way we can cut defense by a few hundred billion... That will help get us on the right track with the budget... The defense budget was doubled under President Bush and was kept there during the first term of President Obama. When they say the cuts would be too deep, that's nonsense. It's over a period of 10 years... With the wars done, there is no need to keep the defense budget at those levels. The only thing is I don't know if Veteran's benefits are part of that budget. If they are, they better not cut that... Our Men and Women in uniform sacrificed a lot and we owe it to them to make sure we take care of them when they come home..

    January 22, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Sarah J

    The Dems have no desire to balance any budget, that's why they haven't produced one in three years.

    January 22, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. CraigRB

    We can start balancing the budget by slashing Congressional salaries and eliminating their health coverage....they can buy their own.

    January 22, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. will never vote Republician again

    Sure............. No one takes things guys seriously!

    January 22, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Canuck

    Cut the defence budget , this would go along way towards reducing the deficit. It's a no-brainier.

    January 22, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Gregory M. Newbold

    The Democratic Party would be smart to seize control of the balanced budget issue away from the GOP. Under the guise of "fiscal responsibility", Republicans did all sorts of things to tax policy. spending and de-regulated financial markets which wreck havoc on the middle class.

    Where is the Progressive equivalent to the "Heritage Foundation" on how to balance the budget? President Obama has defanged the myth of Republican foreign affairs superiority. If they want to win National elections for the next 20 years, the DEMS better beat the GOP to the punch on "fiscal responsibility". Don`t cede this ground and don`t be a counter-puncher. Don`t go back to being a party on the defensive about America`s bread & butter economic issues

    January 22, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that their budget plan will be good for people. I mean the poor and elderly will get the short end of the stick with their budget. I don't think the DoD will get any reduction as the alternative.

    January 22, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. mb

    So are the republicans going to cut defense spending? Like that fighter jet engine the military says they don't want, but bohener won't cut the spending for it because its built in his district. What about all of this foreighn aide? And both sides need to come together on tax reform and make it fair for everyone. Not just tax cuts for the rich.

    January 22, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Quad 50 pkm

    Ak ryan cares about is cutting social security and medi care he will not be happy till all the dems are on the street so only the gop can vote

    January 22, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. i'malib

    Doesn't this guy know that our new president, mr. basketball, just balanced the budget a few weeks ago by raising taxes on everyone? Clearly, he needs to pay attention. I feel we need to raise taxes again on everyone, and give it to people who really need it. Like me. I haven't looked for a job since 1997 (I blame Bush for that) and I don't intend to, because it is not fair. With that said, the Golden Girls are on. The rest of you, get back to work.

    January 22, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. zedlok

    Just wait till we elect another GOP President. Then it'll be back to "deficits don't matter."

    January 22, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    So let me see. Current budget annual deficit $ 1.2tr. Ignoring inflation cost increases and interest charges on higher debt the simple math Of the Boehner magic is 120Bn of cost savings or entitlement cuts each year for the next 10 Years. wow we balanced the budget except that interst costs on average are on a roughly 600bn extra debt over each of the 10 years thats $6Tr of extra debt average at 2% say ( if we are lucky) ooops $120 bn on average over 10 years of interest. QED annual savings cost cuts need to be $180bn bn p.a average to stop debt interest increasing. Ooops forget revenue increases per McConnel/ Boehner or tax increase off the agenda.
    So spending cuts are going to create jobs!? So far that has proved a fallacy in Greece and and the Euro zone as it has lead to higher unemployment and a slowing growth rate
    WE need a solution that grows US GDP faster than now and spending an entitlement cuts do not do that... whats needed is something that creates jobs and grows GDP at 3-4 %.
    Now Dems and republicans find a way to do that:-
    Create jobs and Increase GDP = more tax without increases and less unemployment and benefit expenses in the budget.... that balance the budget with far less risk as long as you make reasonable cuts to defense spending and other discretionary spending areas.
    Then take a real good look at having a national health database that cover major things for everyone like blood type, allergies, and medication allergies, childhood illneses and vaccinations and current medications for whatever like high /BP cholesterol / blood sugar levels. then hospitals only really need to re-do the tests if the data is over 3 months old. ore very serios conditions need tests now before surgery, or oher procedures.
    That will reduce fee for service costs in the $billions.

    January 23, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  22. Getoverit

    Liberals: Well, if the Republicans want it, then it must be wrong....

    January 23, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  23. Thomas

    If House Speaker John Boehner keeps smoking two pacs a day , he won't be around in ten years , so why should he really care ?

    Boehner made the announcement to members of his Republican conference in a closed-door meeting before describing his plan to reporters.

    January 23, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  24. Name lynn

    Boehner you need to get your act together because you have a fight on your hands. Obama is not letting you an them white house leaders an the so call republicans hurt the people, an most of all cut the wrong budgets for the poor an middle class people.

    January 23, 2013 05:19 am at 5:19 am |